Source: North Jersey
Entering the sixth week of a boil-water advisory affecting 270,000 customers, the Passaic Valley Water Commission (PVWC) already has spent more than $1.7 million because of reservoir contamination caused by the remnants of Hurricane Ida.
Officials at the agency said they are in the final stages of flushing out the contamination and hope the water will be approved for drinking by the end of next week. In the meantime, all residents of Paterson and Passaic — along with people who live in some sections of Clifton and Woodland Park — should continue boiling their water, officials said. However, the full cost of the flushing may not be known for another month.
The agency said it already cleaned the New Street Reservoir in Paterson by pumping in clean water. But six crews have been working around-the-clock flushing out residual contamination in the 550 miles of pipes that connected to the New Street facility, said PVWC spokesman Joe Getz.
The crews are running clean water through 4,013 hydrants to clean the pipes, he said. So far, the agency has completed the process for 2,850 hydrants in the four municipalities, Getz said. Those crews include agency employees working overtime as well as private contractors hired for the massive job.
The agency is spending $12,000 per day to pay the outside contractors for the hydrant flushing, Getz said. The $1.7 million spent so far has been for the purchase of bottled water that the agency provided the four cities to distribute to their residents, he said.
The PVWC has not had a boil-water advisory remain in effect as long as this one for more than seven years.
The crisis comes as the agency is in the process of picking its next executive director, a job that comes with a salary range of $235,000 to $265,000, according to commission Chairwoman Ruby Cotton, a Paterson councilwoman who was appointed to the agency by Mayor Andre Sayegh last year.
The agency’s former director, Joseph Bella, retired earlier this year. The agency likely will vote to appoint a new executive director next week, Cotton said.