Trenton signs emergency deal to help troubled water utility
TRENTON — The troubled Trenton Water Works will get some help to run its operations.
The city of Trenton signed an emergency contract with an engineering company called Wade Trim, according to spokesman Michael Walker. The contract was approved by the DCA because of the immediate nature of the situation with the utility, but will still need to be approved by the Trenton City Council, according to the report.
Wade Trim is being paid $1.3 million and its personnel are already on the job, according to Walker.
Public Works Director Merkle Cherry told New Jersey 101.5 the company is needed to help staff several "critical positions" having to do with licensing requirements. It was also in response to the DEP's notice that they need to take care of some "staffing challenges."
"Customers will continue to receive the quatlity of water they've received up to this point. There was never an issue where the quality of water was not consumable," Cherry said.
Trenton Water Works provides water to its namesake city as well as parts of Hamilton, Ewing, Lawrence, and Hopewell Townships.
The agency has been plagued by water pressure problems and water coming up below standards after testing. In December, the water coming out of the taps of many customers was purple or pink, which was blamed on a water treatment chemical. The utility said the water was safe.
After the city failed to immediately issue a boil water order over issues on the Martin Luther King holiday, the state Department of Environmental Protection ordered the utility to take corrective action to make sure it is providing a safe product for customers within 30 days, in accordance with the Clean Water Act.
DEP spokesman Larry Haijna said his office had a "productive meeting" with Trenton mayor Eric Jackson to address steps the TWW needs to take to reach compliance.
"We're very encouraged by the attitude the the Jackson administration is taking to solve the problems with the utility," Haijna said.
He noted that acting DEP commissioner Catherine McCabe has made solving the Water Works' issues a priority and one of the first issues she has tackled.
"We all want to see operations at TWW improve," Haijna said.
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