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State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 8, 2012

Contact: Lawrence Ragonese (609) 292-2994
Lawrence Hajna (609) 984-1795
Bob Considine (609) 984-1795

CUSTOMERS OF PVSC STRONGLY ADVISED TO REDUCE WATER USE TO LIMIT
PARTIALLY TREATED EFFLUENT INTO NEWARK/NEW YORK HARBOR

(12/P141) TRENTON - Residents and businesses in the 48 North Jersey cities and towns served by the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission wastewater treatment system are strongly encouraged to minimize water use to reduce stress on the storm-damaged sewage treatment system and help limit partially treated effluent flowing into Newark and New York Harbor.

The PVSC, which serves 1.4 million customers in Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Passaic and Union counties, is working closely with the state Department of Environmental Protection, federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to repair damage caused by severe flooding and power outages that has limited the level of treatment of the 240 million gallons a day of wastewater that normally flows through this facility.

“We are asking residents and businesses served by the PVSC to heed the Governor’s Executive Order for mandatory water use restrictions, and to be even more diligent in conserving water to help us reduce the flow of effluents into the harbor and limit environmental impacts until we get this plant fully operational,’’ said DEP Commissioner Bob Martin.  

The PVSC system, which is the nation’s fifth treatment largest works, was damaged by an energy failure caused by Hurricane Sandy. All wastewater flow into the system was fully restored over the weekend. The wastewater currently is receiving basic primary treatment and disinfection through chlorination and a sediment settling process. The wastewater is going to an outfall site in New York Harbor.

A major facility rehabilitation effort is now underway, with a goal of restoring full secondary treatment of wastewater. Flooded tunnels and galleries have been pumped out and are being cleaned. Electrical components are being assessed and repaired. Damaged equipment is being repaired and replaced. Storm debris in and around the plant is being removed. Efforts are being made to restore the plant’s sludge disposal operation.

The following towns are served by the PVSC: Bayonne,  Belleville, Bloomfield, Cedar Grove, Clifton, East Newark, East Orange, East Rutherford,  Elizabeth, Elmwood Park, Fair Lawn, Franklin Lakes, Garfield, Glen Ridge, Glen Rock, Hackensack, Haledon, Harrison, Hasbrouck Heights, Hawthorne, Hillside, Jersey City, Kearny, Little Falls, Lodi, Lyndhurst, Montclair, Newark, North Arlington, North Bergen, North Caldwell, North Haledon,  Nutley, Orange, Passaic, Paterson, Prospect Park, Ridgewood, Rutherford, Saddle Brook, South Hackensack, South Orange, Totowa, Union City, Wallington, West Orange, Woodland Park and Wood-Ridge.

The Governor’s Administrative Order includes the following water use restrictions, prohibitions and exemptions:

  • All indoor water use, including showers, baths and domestic cleaning, must be conducted with minimum amounts of water;
  • Non-essential outdoor water use is prohibited;
  • Watering of grass, lawns and landscapes is prohibited except for newly sodded or seeded areas done by professional landscapers or immediately following a commercial application of fertilizer, pesticide or herbicides; minimum amount of water should be used during these applications;
  • Use of water for washing paved surfaces, such as streets, sidewalks, driveways, garages, parking lots and patios is prohibited;
  • Outdoor use of water for ornamental or aesthetic purposes, including fountains, artificial waterfalls, and reflecting pools is prohibited, except to preserve or support wildlife
  • Use of water for municipal street sweeping is allowed only with non-potable water and with minimal use necessary;
  • Use of water for power washing of buildings is prohibited except for commercial enterprises engaged in power washing, and with minimum water use;
  • Car and truck washing, except for emergency vehicles, is prohibited;
  • Commercial car washing is allowed but with reduced rinse cycles and use of recycled water for pre-rinsing of vehicles;
  • Cars and trucks at dealerships may only be washed just prior to delivery, with wash time limited to three minutes;
  • Serving of water in restaurants, clubs, or other eating establishments is prohibited unless specifically requested by patrons.

To read the Governor’s Executive order, visit: http://nj.gov/infobank/circular/eocc106.pdf

To read the DEP’s Administrative order, visit: http://www.nj.gov/dep/docs/ao20121101.pdf

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Last Updated: November 8, 2012