Critical water operation upgrades not reflected in report; cooperation ongoing
TRENTON, NJ – Trenton Water Works (TWW) Director Mark Lavenberg today responded to a New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) letter and report this week discussing ongoing compliance obligations and TWW’s water quality improvements.
“First and foremost, Trenton Water Works has acted with full transparency in self-reporting ongoing assessments to NJDEP. Many details in the report come directly from our staff. We speak daily and meet weekly with NJDEP,” Director Lavenberg said. “Given that level of coordination, the letter and report issued this week unnecessarily seem like snapshots from the past. Many areas of concern in this report are currently being or have been addressed. Forward strides made by TWW are not reflected in the least in these documents.”
TWW’s ability to correct some of the deficiencies in the letter has been diminished by City Council decisions regarding dozens of major legislative approvals for project funding and awarding of bids. The NJDEP letter points out City Council’s rejection of a $15 million bond request as a destabilizing decision.
This decision adversely effected TWW operations and projects, but discussions with NJDEP regarding alternative options or revised timelines have been ongoing. Many of the items declined by Council this year can be presented to a newly-formed body in 2023.
“We are addressing specific requirements from NJDEP. We have been lead-compliant since 2019 and have made major upgrades, for instance the raw water intake which was a recommendation in the 1976 report quoted by NJDEP,” Lavenberg said. “We are being asked to correct nearly 50-year-old problems in four years, which included a global pandemic. Through all of that, we never once had an interruption in service.”
“We want to set the record straight: our drinking water is safe and, day by day, we are working to make it safer. The health of our customers and residents is our primary concern,” he said.