The Department of Environmental Protection and the City of Trenton have reached an agreement detailing a series of steps to address infrastructure, staffing, operational, and public notification needs at the Trenton Water Works, Acting DEP Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe announced yesterday.
The agreement, known as an Administrative Consent Order (ACO), establishes timeframes for the utility to bring system operations into compliance with DEP regulations by addressing staffing deficiencies, implementing an emergency response plan that will keep the public informed of operational issues, and taking actions to minimize disruptions to the treatment plant, particularly to its Delaware River intake system.
“We are very pleased with the spirit of cooperation demonstrated by Mayor Eric E. Jackson and his administration in reaching this agreement, which outlines clear goals for bringing Trenton Water Works into compliance with all state requirements,” Acting Commissioner McCabe said. “The DEP and the City share the same goal – providing the customers of Trenton Water Works with a safe and reliable supply of drinking water.”
The DEP held a meeting today at Trenton City Hall with mayors and business administrators from each of the municipalities served by the utility to discuss the agreement and steps moving forward. In addition to serving the City, Trenton Water Works distributes water to customers in portions of Hamilton, Ewing, Lawrence, and Hopewell townships.
“This ACO is the result of weeks of candid dialogue between the DEP and my administration,” Mayor Jackson said. “It is reflective of a new, collaborative partnership that leverages all of ours and the state’s resources to ensure the common goal of delivery of water in our distribution system according to state and federal standards. As well, it secures the retention of our water utility, which is one of the City’s greatest resources. I want to thank Acting Commissioner McCabe for her leadership in working with me to resolve this matter as agreed upon in the ACO.”
The ACO resolves Notices of Violation the DEP issued to Trenton Water Works on July 21, 2017, and January 5 of this year.
The ACO calls for the filling of open staff positions over the next year, with the filling of critical positions to come in the next few months. In addition, preliminary designs for measures to minimize plant disruptions at the river intake resulting from turbid or low water conditions, or from clogging by debris, aquatic vegetation, or ice will be submitted by this April 30.
Trenton Water Works has also agreed to enhance its emergency response plan to improve its telephone outreach system, notifications to local government leadership in its service area, and communications with key DEP personnel.
In addition, by December 31, Trenton Water Works has agreed to provide a detailed plan for system-wide compliance with the Water Quality Accountability Act, which sets requirements for purveyors to improve the safety and reliability of their systems.
As part of the agreement, Trenton Water Works will submit monthly progress reports that provide an evaluation of all corrective measures implemented to date, identify any issues that could impact complying with the ACO, and activities planned for the next reporting period.
For a copy of the ACO, visit: www.nj.gov/dep/docs/tww-aco-20180205.pdf