(Clifton, N.J. – October 7, 2021) – In the overnight darkness, the yellow flashing lights warn passing motorists about the crew at work. The crew slowly opens the hydrant allowing water to flow out and down the drain. They measure the volume and flow of the water as it drains sediment from the connecting water mains.
The flushing takes about 25-minutes, and when they’re finished, they close the hydrant and move on to the next one. It’s a process that will be repeated 4,013 times. Flushing the hydrants cleans out the more than 550 miles of water mains that bring water to consumers in Passaic and Paterson, as well as parts of Clifton and Woodland Park.
Flushing the hydrants and water mains is just a portion of the massive clean-up effort that has been underway since the remnants of Hurricane Ida struck the area in early September. The torrential rains caused water run-off to overflow the protective berms around the New Street Reservoir and contaminate the 52-million gallons of water that it holds.
New Street Reservoir is where drinking water is stored after it’s been treated, but before it’s delivered to consumers. The century-old process of storing treated drinking water in open reservoirs creates a risk of contamination. In 1975, there were more than 750 open finished water reservoirs in the country. Today, Passaic Valley Water Commission (PVWC) operates three of the six remaining reservoirs in the country.
The remnants of Hurricane Ida resulted in PVWC issuing a boil water notice to more than 250,000 consumers. The Boil Water Notice remains in effect as crews clean up the reservoir, flush the pipes and hydrants, and test the water to make sure it is in compliance with the Safe Drinking Water regulations.
Efforts to replace the open reservoirs with enclosed water tanks have been underway for more than a decade. However, those efforts have been stalled by opponents that claim it may harm the aesthetics of the area. The effort to replace the reservoirs will continue, but for now PVWC is focused on the public health and safety and restoring normal water service for consumers in the impacted area. PVWC recognizes the burden placed on customers by this situation and sincerely appreciates their patience and understanding.
For more information, customers may visit www.PVWC.com for additional details and to sign-up for emergency notifications via voice, text and/or email.