The state Board of Public Utilities has ordered an investigation of this summer’s water crisis, to determine whether New Jersey American Water Co. was negligent.
Three of the company’s main pipes in Colts Neck ruptured on June 29, triggering a water crisis that inconvenienced some 285,000 people in Monmouth County, including us Ocean Grovers. We had to boil our water before drinking, keep our mouths tightly shut in the shower, and refrain from watering our gardens for a few days.
According to the Asbury Park Press, the BPU on Wednesday appointed a special master to be in charge of the investigation. The water pipes broke apart when a 40-year-old wooden bridge collapsed at the Swimming River Reservoir. It was reported at that time that the bridge had been damaged by Hurricane Irene in August of 2011. The question now is whether New Jersey American was at fault for not repairing the damage from the storm.
The special master, Jerry Notte of the Water Business Group at CH2M Hill, has until November 15 to submit his findings to the BPU. Notte is said to be an expert in pipe and bridge infrastructure. — Charles Layton