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Miles of old water main, some of which date back to before World War I, made way for new mains as part of the hundreds of projects completed in 2013 through New Jersey American Water’s distribution system improvement effort. Nearly 300,000 feet of water main was installed or rehabilitated in 2013, as the company invested more than $72.7 million to renew its infrastructure.
With nearly 9,000 miles of water and sewer mains spread throughout the 188 communities it serves, New Jersey American Water – like water utilities nationwide – faces the ongoing challenge of replacing aging infrastructure. Approximately 15 percent of the company’s pipes are 100 years old or older, and those pipes are nearing the end of their problem-free life. Replacing and upgrading older mains improves water quality for customers as well as increases water pressures and improves reliable fire flow.
In more than 70 municipalities, New Jersey American crews installed new pumps, hydrants, valves, and mains. More than 38,000 feet of pipes were “cleaned and lined,” which involves scrubbing the insides of mains to remove sediment, lining the pipes' inner walls with a layer of cement and replacing associated valves and hydrants, thereby reinforcing the pipes and extending their useful life.
In 2014, New Jersey American Water will continue to aggressively upgrade its water distribution system, replacing hundreds of thousands of feet of additional water main in more of its service areas.
“This past year we were able to step up the pace of replacing or rehabilitating old water mains that had outlived their intended usefulness and in many cases, were somewhat undersized to serve communities and provide the increased fire flow that is vital to protect homes and businesses,” said Suzanne Chiavari, practice lead for American Water engineering, who oversaw the implementation of the distribution system improvements. “We now have an enhanced construction program that enables us to tackle aging infrastructure in a much more immediate way and maintain reliable water service to our customers.”