HAMILTON, NJ -- Following the two-day Boil Water Advisory issued to customers of Trenton Water Works which spanned Friday and Saturday, Hamilton's elected leaders created a chorus of voices calling for greater oversight and public accountability by Trenton Water Works (TWW).
Mayor Kelly Yaede called on the State Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) via a written letter to provide additional information regarding the agency's oversight of TWW which serves Hamilton Township, Trenton, Ewing Township and Lawrence Township. Customers were advised to boil their water as a result of a malfunctioning water-distribution system.
In her letter to DEP, Yaede wrote "as a community, Hamiltonians desire and deserve clean drinking water, in which, we can have confidence. Unfortunately, this morning's events, are contrary to this desire."
Yaede went on to request that the DEP, which has partial oversight of TWW, involves itself in three areas of concern. First, the mayor cited three cases of Legionnaire's Disease in residents whose water is provided by TWW, specifically asking for the agency to do "its due diligence investigating any causal between chlorination levels and these cases."
The mayor also requested a meeting with DEP officials regarding the state of the Administrative Consent Order (ACO) between the State and TWW that is currently in place "to ensure quality drinking water for our community's residents."
Finally, Yaede asked for the DEP Commissioner Catherine McCabe to 'personally provide Hamilton officials with notiice" once the Boil Water Advisory is lifted.
According to a notice issued by Trenton Water Works the advisory was lifted at 2:26 p.m. Saturday.
Assemblyman Wayne DeAngelo, who serves as chairman of the Assembly Telecommunications and Utilities Committee, is considering further state action to tackle the chronic problems at TWW. DeAngelo has written several pieces of legislation to create greater oversight of the water utility and public transparency.
“Since the beginning of 2018, I have taken decisive action in addressing Trenton Water Works and their inability to deliver clean, reliable water to the communities they serve. It’s unacceptable to have residents worry about whether or not their water is safe to use or drink. I demand answers from Trenton Water Works and the Department of Environmental Protection on behalf of the residents and businesses that are affected,” said DeAngelo.
Council President Jeff Martin called the incident "unacceptable" and urged that "Trenton Water Works needs to be held accountable."
"While many of the solutions will take time, one thing we can immediately address is the need for better communication to Hamilton residents. We will also demand to see a plan for how they will be investing in their aging infrastructure to ensure this never happens again," added Martin. "Every person should be able to have safe, clean drinking water. We (Hamilton) are TWW customers and we deserve better."
The DEP did not respond to a request for comment as of the time this story was published.
Know a story we should share with readers? Email editor Elizabeth Meyers and tell her about it.