“When it comes to the condition of New Jersey’s water infrastructure, Superstorm Sandy was yet another wakeup call that we’ve been sounding for several years now,” New Jersey American Water Vice President of Operations Stephen Schmitt told an audience of business leaders today at the Building a Sustainable Infrastructure After Sandy Conference put on by NJ Spotlight at the Trenton War Memorial. The conference, which featured utility and government leaders, was designed to evaluate the need, plans and costs for a more robust utility infrastructure in New Jersey, particularly in light of Sandy’s impact. Schmitt participated in a panel that discussed New Jersey’s Aging Infrastructure, which kicked off the conference. “As it stands today, more than 15 percent of New Jersey American Water’s nearly 9,000 miles of pipe are between 100 and 140 years old,” Schmitt said. “These pipes, which were a foundational component of the state’s economic growth in the past century, are now at the end of their useful lives.” But the cost of replacing water main today is an order of magnitude greater than it was 50 years ago. According to Schmitt, the situation requires proper action today, or the long term impacts will be compounded, becoming even more costly. “Letting that happen will degrade New Jersey’s competitiveness in economic development,” he said. “Unless we accelerate our investment in renewing the state’s water infrastructure, its long-term resiliency is at risk,” said Schmitt. To prevent this, each year, New Jersey American Water invests about $300 million in repairing, replacing and upgrading its infrastructure. New Jersey American Water, a wholly owned subsidiary of American Water (NYSE: AWK) is the investor-owned water utility in the state, providing high-quality and reliable water and/or wastewater services to approximately 2.5 million people. Founded in 1886, American Water is the largest publicly traded U.S. water and wastewater utility company. With headquarters in Voorhees, N.J., the company employs approximately 6,700 dedicated professionals who provide drinking water, wastewater and other related services to an estimated 14 million people in more than 30 states, as well as parts of Canada. More information can be found by visiting www.amwater.com.