BRIDGEWATER — New Jersey American Water Co. will spend more than $65 million to improve the flood protection for their Raritan-Millstone water treatment plant.

Director of Central Operations Robert Schaefer says New Jersey American will increase the protection level from its current ability to withstand a 100-year storm, up to a level that will hold back flooding from a 500-year storm.

"We are modifying our existing flood protection by raising it 4 feet," he says.

"With the severity of storms that we have experienced over the years, most notably Irene, we have determined that that level of protection is no longer adequate, and we need to raise it in order to protect these assets for the future."

Schaefer says the masonry, concrete, steel, earth and a berm that will "harden" the treatment plant is important to protect an operation that serves a million Jersey residents in seven counties.

"It ranks right up there with some of the biggest jobs that we have ever done."

The plant produces an average of $155 million gallons of water a day. It is a Tier 1 New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness facility that is considered "critical infrastructure" by the Department of Homeland Security.

Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor on New Jersey 101.5