News Feature | September 20, 2018

Hoboken Searches For New Water Utility After 18 Main Breaks

Sara Jerome

By Sara Jerome,
@sarmje

watermainbreak reg new

After 18 water mains broke in Hoboken, NJ, over the summer, the city council and city administration moved to take bids for a new water company to replace SUEZ Water.

“SUEZ has supplied water to Hoboken since the 1990s. While the city owns the aging water pipes that have broken, [the mayor] says that he believes that the water company should do a better job of maintaining them,” NJ News 12 reported.

“The city will draw up a rebid proposal and seek state approval. If that happens, the city will start seeking bids, probably by late October,” NBC New York reported.

“The city hopes to have a new deal in place by next summer,” WCBS 880 added.

Mayor Ravi Bhalla described the city’s decision.

“Hoboken itself has made, on its own volition, major multimillion capital investments into water mains in the last two years along Washington Street as well as other high-priority areas. We’re looking to add on those investments by retaining a water operator that can also join and partner with us,” he said, per the report.

Christopher Riat, general manager for SUEZ’s environmental services, spoke about public concerns in a CBS2 report.

“It could be the heat that we’ve had, the usage that we’ve had,” he said, per the report. “There are a number of factors that lead to it.”

“One of those factors, Riat says, are the pipes in the mile-square city. Some of them date back to the 1800s, and crews even discovered a few wooden ones during recent excavation work,” the report stated.

NBC New York noted that it remains unknown if SUEZ will be booted out of Hoboken.

“The water company has argued that the real culprit of the water main breaks is the city's aging infrastructure. Some pipes are more than 100 years old, and some are still made of wood. Replacing them, the company argues, is a city responsibility,” the report stated.

Image credit: "IMG_1946" Mark Taylor © 2011, used under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/