United Water supports Sustainable Water Infrastructure Act

United Water supports Sustainable Water Infrastructure Act

In support of the Sustainable Water Infrastructure Act—legislation that would stimulate private sector investment in water infrastructure by modifying the tax code—United Water participated in a press event on June 2 alongside bill sponsors Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (NJ-09), who each emphasized the need for this change. In the background, United Water construction crews worked to replace a broken underground valve leading to a 24-inch main that provides water to Cliffside Park residents. When the crew reached the valve, a ten-foot high jet of water shot out of the ground, creating mayhem as businessmen and members of the press frantically scrambled to avoid being sprayed by the geyser. Ironically, this reaffirmed the need for increased investment in the nation’s water infrastructure. “It seems like every week a pipe bursts somewhere in New Jersey, destroying property and disrupting lives,” Sen. Menendez said. “We’ve under-invested in our infrastructure, certainly we’ve underinvested in water systems, and now we’re paying the price.  These systems are old and badly degraded.  Many of them are waiting to fail, and they need to be fixed.” The bill, which sponsors will propose alongside a highway funding act, would remove caps on issuing private activity bonds (PAB) for water and wastewater projects. It comes at a time when the American Society of Civil Engineers has given America’s water infrastructure a D-rating, as some of it has been in place for almost a century. Passage of the bill would benefit local economies, both by providing jobs and by preventing unplanned infrastructure shutdowns that could disrupt commerce. “Our common sense solution not only invests in...

Two New Jersey Fire Departments Earn Top Ratings for Fire Protection Infrastructure

The City of Hackensack’s Fire Department recently earned a Class 1 rating from the Insurance Services Office (ISO), a risk assessment company.  Hackensack now joins Hoboken as the only two municipal fire departments in the state of New Jersey – and only 61 departments in the United States – to have a Class 1 ranking out of more than 48,000 that have been surveyed by the ISO. United Water commends both departments and is proud to provide reliable water service to both communities. Forty percent of the grading is based upon the community’s water supply, and fire protection is a key component of a community’s water infrastructure. To assess the state of a community’s water supply, the ISO surveys all components of the water supply system, including pumps, storage and filtration. It also evaluates the rate of flow the water mains provide, and reviews the condition and maintenance of fire hydrants. This recognition serves as a reminder of the importance of good, reliable and expertly managed municipal water service. These honors for Hoboken and Hackensack come at a time when numerous reports have shown alarming trends of underinvestment and poor maintenance of water infrastructure in many communities across the country. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that it will take $600 billion during the next two decades to bring many community water systems back to standard. Congratulations again to Hoboken and Hackensack, NJ for providing top-notch fire service to their...

Infrastructure Investments Ensure Reliability, Resiliency During Emergencies

Over the last three years, severe weather events have plagued the Northeast, risking public safety, disrupting utility service and putting undue stress on critical infrastructure. As a result, emergency response planning has become more imperative than ever before. On July 22, United Water Executive Vice President Bob Iacullo presented to the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) on the company’s emergency preparedness and response to Hurricane Irene, Tropical Storm Lee and more recently Superstorm Sandy. He stressed the importance of emergency response planning, with particular emphasis on infrastructure resiliency. “The value of our infrastructure investments was unmistakable during recent severe weather events, including Superstorm Sandy and Hurricane Irene,” said Iacullo. “While residents experienced prolonged outages with energy utilities, United Water was able to maintain uninterrupted water service for essentially all of our customers, even though we lost power at virtually all of our facilities.” Since 2010, United Water New York has invested nearly $80 million in capital improvements in Rockland and Orange Counties. Backup generators were installed at several facilities while upgrades were made at Lake DeForest Water Treatment Plant to ensure compliance with water quality standards, efficiency and dependability. Similarly, United Water New Jersey invested nearly $60 million in infrastructure improvements. Backup generators were installed at Haworth Treatment Plant, the customer service call center in Hackensack and the IT data center in Harrington Park, which ensured service reliability and allowed us to keep customers informed during severe weather conditions. Despite power outages and some property damage to our water and wastewater facilities during Sandy, providing continuous water service to customers remained a top priority. Emergency personnel, including...

U.S. aging water infrastructure and what it means for our economy

    Clean water is fundamental to our economy and our health. Sustainable source of drinking water is critical not only for survival but also for our long-term economic growth. Although we usually do not associate the value of clean water to number of jobs, these two are very closely linked. According to a report released by The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) in 2011, United States faces a serious water challenge that directly threatens jobs and economy. Here are some sobering facts from the report: Aging water infrastructure will cost U.S. businesses $147 billion over the next decade. Unless new investments are made, by 2020 unreliable and insufficient water infrastructure will cost the average American household $900 a year in higher water rates and lower wages. American businesses can expect an additional $147 billion in increased costs and the economy will lose 700,000 jobs by 2020. The report also identifies three sectors of the economy that will suffer the most if our water infrastructure is not improved in the near future. These sectors are: Retail Restaurants and bars, and Construction businesses While there is no quick fix to address our nation’s water challenge, adopting sustainability practices such as using efficient equipment changes, adopting green infrastructure and conserving water everyday can help with reduce the impact of this...