WARREN, NJ - At the last Warren Township Committee meeting, the New Jersey American Water Company addressed the issue of Warren's hard water.
Many residents attended to voice their displeasure on the hardness of their water, which can cause damage to appliances over time, and to find out what the water company was going to do about it.
The residents claimed that the hard water they receive is ruining their appliances. Resident Bob Hanna said, "I’m on my third hot-water heater. Dishwater, I’ve gone through one motor, it’s deceased. I just rebuilt the kitchen. I have a $450 faucet. I had to trash it."
Kevin Sumner, a health officer for the Middle-Brook Regional Health Commission, said, "The federal and state agencies have all determined that while it is certainly an aesthetic issue and creates the kinds of issues that you heard about from the audience tonight, there are no health issues related to it so it is an unregulated component of the water system."
Resident Dawn D’Angelo disagreed. She said, “It's not only property damage, both of my daughters had severe eczema. Once I got the water softener, their eczema was cured."
Bob Schaeffer, chief of operations at New Jersey American Water Company, said hard water is mostly caused by calcium and magnesium, which are prevalent in ground water.
According to Schaeffer, Warren's water comes from two primary surface water plants, which supply 90 percent of water augmented by ground water supplies.
Schaeffer was asked to explain the difference between ground and surface water in parts per million, and asked how the parts per million could be lowered.
Schaeffer said that the surface water is about 100 parts per million, while the ground water is close to 700.
“None of our area is served exclusively by surface water, so you are never going to eliminate hardness. It occurs naturally in every water supply,” said Schaeffer.
In order to lower the hardness level, the NJ American Water Company plans to build a 16-inch pipeline that it hopes will lower the parts per million by bringing in more surface water, increasing the ratio of surface water to ground water thus decreasing the hardness of the water.
“As part of our capital program for long term planning, we are undertaking a project to bring more surface water into this area. We are in the process of developing a project that is a 16-inch in diameter pipeline. It is a $2 million investment in our infrastructure,” said Schaeffer.
The NJ American Water Company is dividing the pipeline project into three phases, and expects to start the first phase in August and finish by the end of 2015.
Mike Bange, manager of operations at the New Jersey American Water Company, explained that in the first phase they will connect a 16-inch water main between their booster stations off of Route 22 and Morning Glory Road. “The second phase is taking it across Morning Glory to Sherman Terrace. And the last phase ties in through the right of way and into Oak Lane, which will bring us to the Top of the World development. That will bring the water that we need through Green Brook and feed it into the Warren District,” said Bange, who explained that the new pipeline should allow the American Water Company to pump more surface water through Warren.
Schaeffer said, "We have a 16-inch pipeline that extends most of the way up Washington Valley Road. Right now, we have some constrictions in the system, because the pipe just isn’t big enough. That doesn’t allow us to realize the full capacity of the pumping station. We just can’t pump that much through a small pipe. By filling in these gaps we will be able to realize that capacity and deliver greater volumes here."