News Feature | January 19, 2018

Report Outlines Dire Conditions Of New Jersey Water/Wastewater Infrastructure

Peter Chawaga - editor

By Peter Chawaga

As communities all over the country continue to deal with aging and failing infrastructure, a report in New Jersey outlines just how desperate the situation is.

“A state task force approved a report … outlining the dire condition of New Jersey’s aging drinking water infrastructure and recommendations to legislators for fixing the problem,” according to “The report urges the Legislature to create a new grant program, financed by $400 million in bonds, to begin urgent upgrades to the state’s complex patchwork of drinking water systems, especially smaller systems and those in economically distressed communities.”

The 30-page report put into stark terms the conditions of New Jersey’s buried drinking water infrastructure, calling it a “crisis” and “aged past its useful life.” The most apparent consequence of these conditions is the resulting non-revenue water.

“Several studies have shown that state drinking water utilities lose as much as 20 to 30 percent of treated drinking water before it ever gets to customers because of old, leaky pipes and water main breaks,” per “According to recent state reports, the Suez system, which supplies water to 800,000 residents in Bergen and Hudson counties, in recent years has leaked away about 25 percent of the water it treats.”

The report added that the state’s largest water utility, New Jersey American Water, estimates that more than half of its 8,700 miles of pipeline were installed between 1870 and 1960. It also estimates that it costs 10 times as much to make emergency repairs to ruptured pipelines than it does to make infrastructure upgrades.

The report also recommended vast upgrades for the state’s wastewater systems.

“The task force suggests a wide range of recommendations for modernizing not only the state’s drinking water infrastructure, but also undertaking long-neglected upgrades to the state’s more than 200 facilities that treat sewage and combined sewage systems that spew untreated sewage into waterways,” per NJ Spotlight.

New Jersey’s public officials seem emboldened by the report’s findings and prepared to take action to remedy the issue. But questions still remain around where the necessary funding will come from and how quickly changes can take place.

To read more about the consequences of outdated infrastructure visit Water Online’s Solutions And Insight For Water Loss Prevention.

Image credit: "New Jersey," nestor ferraro © 2017, used under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license: