News Feature | June 24, 2014

New Jersey Policymakers Search For Water Funding

Sara Jerome

By Sara Jerome


New Jersey needs $40 billion to bring its water infrastructure into modern times, but nobody knows where to find it. 

The state legislature "took up the issue [this month] at a hearing in Trenton, and while there was no disagreement about the problem, little was said on how to resolve what virtually everyone agreed is a long-term issue that must eventually be addressed -- sooner rather than later," NJ Spotlight reported

The difficulty is "balancing the cost to ratepayers," David Glass, a state environmental official, said at the hearing. 

Bad weather has made the situation worse for New Jersey. 

"Hurricane Sandy magnified many of the problems. Wastewater treatment plants, left without power, dumped billions of gallons of raw sewage into New Jersey’s waterways. Facilities providing drinking water also lost electricity, leading to more than three dozen boil-water advisories for their customers," the report said. 

New Jersey's water infrastructure is way out of date. The state "has about 21 towns with sewer technology built between 1860 and 1920," according to Rutgers University Associate Research Professor Daniel Van Abs on NJTV News. 

"He said that it is very old technology that combines wastewater and storm water and has it flow through the same sewer system. He said that is creating a lot of problems with regard to sewer capacity and clean water issues, so it is an issue that the state has to deal with," the report said.  

Pipes are bursting all over the state, and as a result, utilities are losing treated. "United Water New Jersey said it sees 450 water main breaks annually. Pascrell said quarter of all water that is lost through these breaks is treated and usable," New Jersey 101.5 reported. "The company has said it is investing $220 million over the next three years to upgrade its network in North Jersey."

Check out Water Online's Regulations & Legislation Solution Center.

Image credit: "Greetings from Trenton New Jersey -- state flower, the violet, state capital in Trenton," Boston Public Library © 2011, used under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license:

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