State Senator: Trenton must issue prompt boil water advisories or face penalties

Source: The Trentonian
Trenton Water Works (TWW) provides water sourced from the Delaware River to residents in the city and suburban communities in Ewing, Lawrence, Hamilton and Hopewell townships. In October 2010, a large brouhaha was caused by the utility delivering delayed boil water advisories.
“We can’t have notification that we need to boil water six hours after we need to boil water,” then-Hamilton Councilman Dennis Pone said at a council meeting. “We were drinking water and then found out about it hours later. (The) essence of life is water — you can’t have that happen.” So the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) offered to provide TWW with “assistance in identifying and correcting any systemic, managerial or procedural problems.”
But Trenton Water Works is still being criticized for failing to provide all customers with immediate notification on matters affecting public health. TWW has been cited with at least 16 water violations from DEP since Mayor Eric Jackson assumed office in July 2014. And on January 15, Trenton experienced a boil water advisory due to “elevated turbidities and inadequate disinfection of delivered water,” according to DEP.
Now State Sen. Shirley Turner (D-Mercer/Hunterdon) has introduced two State Senate bills to improve the notification process and protect Trenton Water Works customers when the water is unsafe for drinking. The first bill would require a public water system to provide prompt public notice whenever a “boil water” notice is in effect and to issue a prompt notice whenever such advisories are lifted or rescinded.
Turner says her second bill would require a public water system to send “boil water” notices to the mayor and municipal clerk of the affected municipalities within an hour of a notice going into effect. The water system would also have to notify the mayor and municipal clerk whenever the boil water notice gets rescinded.
Under the legislation Turner is proposing, any other public water system in New Jersey that fails to abide by strict notification requirements would be in violation of New Jersey’s Safe Drinking Water Act and would be subjected to potential penalties at the discretion of DEP, including, but not limited to, civil penalties.
Turner said she has been in contact with Trenton Mayor Jackson and has offered any legislative assistance she can provide to resolve issues at Trenton Water Works.
Mayor Jackson issued a statement on Jan. 18 declaring water supplied to TWW customers “meets or exceeds federal standards.” His statement did not acknowledge TWW’s long and troubled history of problems other than to concede that TWW had “some temporary operational issues.”

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