Food & Drink

Glen Rock council hears how Ridgewood Water will communicate better

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Richard Calbi, director of Ridgewood Water, said the utility will communicate differently next time, "if ever," there is a water emergency.

Calbi appeared before the Glen Rock Council on April 26 to answer questions about the April 5 positive E. coli bacteria scare and subsequent "boil water advisory" issued to the areas of the system affected, including all of Glen Rock.

"At no time were any customers in danger," Calbi told the council.

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The boil advisory was lifted within 24 hours.

E. coli is an enterobacterium that is used in public health as an indicator of fecal pollution, in water or food, and in medicine and genetics as a research organism. It occurs in various strains that may live as harmless inhabitants of the human lower intestine or may produce a toxin causing intestinal illness.
Calbi explained Ridgewood Water serves five zones and on April 4, the zone serving Glen Rock, a majority of Ridgewood, a "very small" portion of Wyckoff and "an even smaller" portion of Midland Park were included in the low pressure zone where they received the bacteria warning.

"We heard from customers who asked us why we couldn't notify all five zones we serve," Calbi said. "It makes sense because a lot of people were a little confused about who was and wasn't affected."

Calbi said two houses adjacent to each other could be affected differently.

"We'll notify the whole area next time, if there ever is one," he said.

Calbi said the utility is investing in a bigger phone center and a dedicated conference line for town representatives who call-in with questions.

"Customers should also sign-up for our SwiftReach phone system so they're notified when there is an issue," he said.

SwiftReach sign-up is available on the utility's website under the "EMERGENCIES" tab: http://water.ridgewoodnj.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=77&Itemid=79.

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