January 25, 2017

John F. McKeon of NJ.com, provides an informed opinion of New Jersey’s drinking water. With much of the state’s pipelines being between the ages of 100 and 140 years old, he cautions readers that the majority of these pipes will soon reach their expected life span.

In his op-ed, McKeon provides evidence that we are beginning to see the impact of aged pipelines. According to his accounts, “Since 2000, the city has experienced an average of 20 water main breaks per year. A pressure change caused by one main break can cause additional breaks elsewhere. Main breaks have led to road detours, water boil advisories and inadequate water pressure for nearby residents and businesses.” This has lead to leaks financially and in infrastructure terms. In addition, the leaks that have been reported by the state’s water suppliers, “have reported losing as much as 33 percent, and an audit of one municipality found that 45 percent of its drinking water could not be accounted for — a rate akin to that of cities in developing countries.”

McKeon brings attention to this critical life resource, but also indicates the financial needs to bring about improvement to its infrastructure. According to his November 30, 2016 post, the Federal Environmental Protection Agency estimates that New Jersey will require an investment of nearly $8 billion by 2027 to address the improvements and ensure safe drinking water for the public.

Recently, the City of Newark dealt with its very own water challenges with evidence of lead in certain educational facilities, it will be vital for community leaders across the state’s largest city to determine the best strategy to ensure water infrastructure is addressed efficiently throughout the community. Additional information on the current state of NJ’s water pipelines can be found here.