New Jersey Economic Future May Rest On The Pace Of Infrastructure Spending

Energizing New Jersey’s economy is dependent on ensuring the state’s aging infrastructure is constantly being invested in and renewed. And for New Jersey American Water, its President William Varley told an audience at the New Jersey Alliance for Action on Friday that meant picking up the multimillion dollar pace of capital projects over the last two years. The company has spent more than one billion dollars since 2004 on its water systems that serve about a third of the state. More than half of that has gone toward infrastructure renewal.

“We have nearly 9,000 miles of main in the ground. In just a few years, about 15 percent of that is going to be a hundred years old or older, and in need of renewal,” said Varley. “We have stepped up our investment because simply waiting for pipes to break is not an option. Emergency repairs can easily cost ten times the price of proactively renewing the infrastructure.”

In 2013 alone, New Jersey American Water spent $110 million in its renewal efforts. That resulted in 68 miles of water mains being replaced, and another 15 miles of still serviceable mains being rehabilitated. It also provided hundreds of construction and contracting jobs across the state. This accelerated effort is possible due to a distribution system improvement program developed by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities last year. The new program to accelerate renewal of the state’s aging water infrastructure was developed by the BPU following a lengthy public stakeholder process that lasted almost two years. The program’s infrastructure projects are funded through a Distribution System Improvement Charge that appears as a separate item on customers’ bills.

New Jersey American Water, a wholly owned subsidiary of American Water (NYSE:AWK) is the largest 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.

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