Levine Reservoir

Water Storage Improvement Feasibility Project 2014

The requirement to cover open distribution reservoirs is in the National Primary Drinking Water Regulations and can be found at 40 CFR 141.417. All uncovered reservoirs must be covered or provided with treatment. If a treatment technique is employed, the systems must treat the water withdrawn from the reservoir and sent to the distribution system to achieve inactivation and/or removal of at least 4-log virus, 3-log Giardia lamblia, and 2-log Cryptosporidium using a protocol approved by the State.

The basis for the requirements of the rule is sound. In addition to being a security risk, the American Water Works Association has justified their support of the rule as follows:

“Uncovered storage reservoirs provide the greatest opportunity for contaminant entry into the distribution system. These reservoirs are potentially subject to contamination from bird and other animal excrement that can potentially transmit disease-causing organisms to the finished water. Microorganisms can also be introduced into open reservoirs from windblown dust, debris and algae. Algae proliferate in open reservoirs with adequate sunlight and nutrients and impart color, taste and odor to the water on a seasonal basis. Organic matter such as leaves and pollen are also a concern in open reservoirs. Waterfowl are known carriers of many different waterborne pathogens and have the ability to disseminate these pathogens over a wide area. For example, Vibrio cholera has been isolated from feces of 20 species of aquatic birds in Colorado and Utah (Ogg, Ryder and Smith 1989). Waterfowl are known carriers of S. Montevideo B, Vibriocholera and Hepatitis A virus (Brock 1979) and E. coli, Norwalk virus, Coronavirus, Coxsackieviruses, Rotavirus, Astrovirus, and Cryptosporidium (WRc and Public Health Laboratory Service 1977).” In addition to these issues cited by AWWA, open reservoirs also allow residual disinfectants to dissipate and contribute to changes in water quality (e.g. changes in pH) that can adversely affect the stability of the water distributed to customers. Low pH water distributed from open reservoirs can contribute to increased corrosion within the distribution system leading to increased levels of lead, copper and iron in the finished water as well as shortened service lives for water mains, valves and service lines.

Uncovered finished water reservoirs used to be a common feature of many water systems but their numbers have dwindled, i.e.,

Uncovered finished water reservoirs used to be a common feature of many water systems but their numbers have dwindled, i.e.,

  • In the mid-1970’s EPA reported the existence of approximately 750 uncovered distribution reservoirs;
  • By 1998, the number of uncovered reservoirs remaining in service had declined to 300;
  • By 2000, the number in service had declined to 141;
  • By 2006, only 81 remained in service; and
  • As of the end of 2011, 38 remain in service and of these 10 have remedial projects under construction. The remaining 28 are all addressed by some form of compliance schedule or administrative consent decree.

Of the 38 open reservoirs that remain in service, covers or treatment are being installed on 10. This leaves 28 that are the subject of compliance schedules. The following table shows the location of the last 28 by State.


State Number
New York 9
California 6
New Jersey 5
Maryland 3
Oregon 3
Washington 2


The Commission’s three uncovered finished water reservoirs (Great Notch, New Street, and Levine) are presently not in conformance with USEPA and NJDEP guidelines for finished water storage as defined in CFR 141.74(c)(1) and (c)(2). The Commission has entered into an Administrative Consent Order (ACO) with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) to eliminate the three reservoirs.

Proposed Plan

The Commission retained a professional engineering consultant to prepare a feasibility study and conceptual design report that evaluated several alternatives for eliminating the reservoirs. From 2009 through 2011, the Commission and our consultant worked with the NJDEP to develop a plan that would meet the drinking water requirements in the most cost effective and least disruptive manner. The Executive Summary of the Feasibility Report presents a summary of the report and can be accessed by clicking here. Eight specific alternatives were developed during the feasibility study and analyzed in detail.

The proposed plan has been divided into three phases which the Commission envisions will be implemented over the next 8 to 10 years. Phase 1 is presently being designed now (2013 to 2014) and is planned for construction in the middle of 2015. A detailed summary of the Phase 1 project can be accessed by clicking here. The key components of all three phases are as follows:

Phase 1

  • Emergency back-up power facilities at the Commission’s Little Falls Water Treatment Plant located in Totowa, New Jersey. This work will include four 3,000 kW generators as well as improvements to the plant’s transformers and switchgear.
  • Two 2.5 million gallon prestressed concrete water storage tanks located within the footprint of the existing Levine Reservoir in Paterson, New Jersey.
  • A 2 million gallon steel water storage tank located adjacent to the existing Verona Water Storage Tank in Verona, New Jersey.

Phase 2

  • Two 15 million gallon prestressed concrete water storage tanks located within the footprint of the existing New Street Reservoir in Woodland Park, New Jersey. Demolition of the New Street Reservoir Dam is also included.
  • Construction of new pumping station with a firm capacity of 8 million gallons per day adjacent to the existing New Street Reservoir. This pumping station will transfer water to the Great Notch Reservoir and ultimately to the proposed storage tanks at the Great Notch Reservoir. It will also provide redundancy to the Great Notch Pumping station and deliver water to this pumping station while it is being expanded under Phase 3.

Phase 3

  • Two 20 million gallon prestressed concrete water storage tanks located within the footprint of the existing Great Notch Reservoir in Woodland Park, New Jersey. Demolition of the Great Notch Reservoir Dam is also included.
  • Expansion of the Great Notch Reservoir Pumping Station from 6 to 12 million gallons per day firm capacity.

Public Outreach

Working with PVWC, JGSC Group designed a plan to reach out to the public and solicit information on their preferences about the project and alternative ideas and suggestions.

  1. PVWC held a series of 6 public meetings between February and November 2014.
  2. JGSC held two public workshops (11/14/15 and 11/19/15)
  3. JGSC mailed informational brochures and postcards to 125,452 households in the area.
  4. JGSC went door-to-door to 3,741 households to hand distribute informational flyers and speak with residents in-person.
  5. JGSC and PVWC distributed informational flyers to another 4,500 households in the 07502 zip code.
  6. Tear-off pads were distributed to dozens of businesses within a 1/2 mile radius of the Levine Reservoir directing people to visit the PVWC website for more information. A total of 1,146 unique individuals visited the relevant webpages.
  7. JGSC mailed surveys to 125,452 households and made the survey available online.  We received 4,897 responses and over 1,200 comments.

A detailed summary of the Public Outreach Findings can be accessed by clicking here.

Contact Us

Office Hours:
7:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Main Office:
Passaic Valley Water Commission
1525 Main Avenue
Clifton, NJ 07011

Telephone: 973-340-4300
Fax: 973-340-5598

By calling Customer Service 973-340-4300 at any time, day or night, Passaic Valley Water Commission will respond to water emergency situations for you.

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