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New Jersey American Water Announces Bold New START Program to Create Jobs & Invest in Water & Wastewater Services

CAMDEN, N.J. (July 23, 2020) – New Jersey American Water President Cheryl Norton today announced a bold new program that proposes to accelerate capital investment in water and wastewater infrastructure while creating and/or sustaining thousands of jobs.

Solutions Today and Reinvesting Tomorrow (START), consists of several distinct proposed pieces, which collectively will serve the greater good of New Jersey American Water’s customers and the entire state.

Norton announced the details of the program in testimony before the Assembly Special Committee on Infrastructure and Natural Resources. New Jersey American Water envisions START as part of New Jersey’s economic recovery from COVID-19, putting people to work while also continuing to provide hundreds of thousands of New Jerseyans with safe and reliable water and wastewater services so they don’t have to worry about adding it to their list of current concerns.

“What we are proposing is an acceleration in capital investment in water and wastewater infrastructure that can result in the improvement of those systems and the creation of thousands of jobs,” says Norton. “We feel that our proposed START program can, and will, make a difference, as together we  fight this public health emergency and its economic impact, while continuing to provide the citizens of New Jersey with clean, reliable drinking water and environmentally safe wastewater services.”

START contains several proposed components, which include: 

Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Investment Program (WWIIP)

This is a new proposal for water and wastewater utilities in New Jersey (requiring legislative or regulatory approval) which would speed up capital investment in water and wastewater systems while sustaining and creating jobs, but its framework is not new to the water/wastewater industry.   

Projects under WWIIP must be on nonrevenue producing assets and must fall into certain categories like existing Distribution System Improvement Charge (DSIC) eligible projects, replacement of plant items, water main cleaning and lining, distribution, production, and other infrastructure for the purpose of safety, water quality, resiliency, and environmental compliance.

WWIIP could generate between $100 million to $150 million in new capital investments and the creation of 1,500 to 2,000 jobs. 

Distribution System Improvement Charge (DSIC) Expansion

Currently, under New Jersey law, water utilities can only get recovery through DSIC on mostly underground distribution system assets (pipes, etc.). New Jersey American Water is proposing to expand the current DSIC program to include the replacement of above ground distribution system assets (meters, booster stations, storage tanks, etc.).

There currently is a 5 percent cap on what New Jersey American Water can recover under DSIC.  New Jersey American Water is proposing to raise that cap to 10 percent. By raising that cap and allowing DSIC to apply to above ground assets, an additional $50 million to $75 million in annual capital investment could be generated. That investment would sustain or create over 500 jobs.

DSIC expansion is contingent on the result of the WWIIP proposal. If WWIIP is approved, this proposed DSIC expansion would no longer be necessary.

Accelerate the Wastewater System Improvement Charge (WSIC)

This mechanism is similar to DSIC but covers wastewater collection system assets rather than underground distribution system assets. Currently pending before the Board of Public Utilities, approval of this charge could create between $6 million and $8 million of annual investment along with approximately 150 jobs.

Like the DSIC expansion, this is also contingent on the result of the WWIIP proposal. If WWIIP is approved, this proposed change would no longer be necessary.

Lead Service Line Replacement Legislation (A1544)

This legislation would allow for water utilities to receive full cost recovery for the replacement of the customer-owned portion of a lead service line (street to the home) in addition to the company owned side. New Jersey American Water’s goal is to reduce lead in drinking water through the proactive elimination of lead service lines and ongoing optimization of water treatment to reduce corrosion of plumbing materials that may contain lead. 

Replacing lead service lines in conjunction with main replacements or relocations is not only a cost-effective, efficient, and responsible way to continue infrastructure renewal programs, it also best addresses the health and safety concerns associated with partial lead service line replacements. This is an important piece of helping to reduce New Jerseyans’ potential exposure to lead.

H2O/Affordability Programs

For nearly a decade, New Jersey American Water has been assisting low-income water customers who qualify through its H2O Help to Others Program, which is administered by New Jersey Shares. Customers who qualify may receive a grant of up to $500 to help pay their water bill for indoor water use only.

New Jersey American Water has implemented new measures aimed at increasing participation in the program by making it easier to apply and qualify.

These include:

  • Increased eligibility for customers (including those impacted by COVID-19)
  • Temporarily waiving the $100 payment requirement through Dec. 31, 2020 to receive the H2O grant
  • Temporarily waiving the restriction of receiving a grant only every three years through Dec. 31, 2020 for any customer that has not yet received a grant in 2020 to date 
  • Temporarily waiving the requirement of no broken payment arrangements within the past year through Dec. 31, 2020
  • Temporarily making both programs available to landlords who don’t live at the property and meters that are shared by more than one owner (both currently excluded from H2O)
  • Changing the income recertification requirement for the Service Charge discount from two years to one year for customers receiving unemployment benefits who apply for assistance between July 1, 2020-Dec. 31, 2020
  • Expanding the DSIC discount to those who qualify for the Service Charge discount, for customers who apply between July 1, 2020-Dec. 31, 2020

Expand Supplier Diversity Programs

American Water’s Supplier Diversity Program is centered on the fact that the company views supplier diversity as a business imperative, not just the “right thing to do.” American Water strives to work with suppliers that represent the diverse backgrounds of its customer base.

New Jersey American Water is committed to strengthening the economy and improving its communities, and supplier diversity plays a critical role in this. The company realizes that small, minority-owned, women-owned and other diverse businesses play a vital role in the economic well-being of our communities. Diverse suppliers are the fastest growing business segment in the country, offering innovation, customer-focused solutions.

Through the proposed START initiative, New Jersey American Water will continue to strengthen its Supplier Diversity efforts through increased partnerships with diverse businesses in New Jersey. Details of the program are still being developed and will be announced in the near future.

Develop A New Workforce Employment Initiative (Apprentice Program)

The water industry over the next five years faces an employee work shortage as “new” employees into the water industry are not evolving. It is difficult to obtain water/wastewater treatment licenses, generally taking up to 10 years. Many people, especially young adults, do not know about the well-paying jobs that are attainable in the water industry.

New Jersey American Water wants to develop an apprentice program to help address this issue. We are working with the Governor’s Office/Department of Labor and the NJ Vocational-Technical Schools Association to develop such an initiative and will be announcing further details in the near future.

About New Jersey American Water

New Jersey American Water, a subsidiary of American Water (NYSE: AWK), is the largest investor-owned water utility in the state, providing high-quality and reliable water and/or wastewater services to approximately 2.8 million people.

For more information, visit www.newjerseyamwater.com and follow New Jersey American Water on Twitter and Facebook

About American Water 

With a history dating back to 1886, American Water is the largest and most geographically diverse U.S. publicly traded water and wastewater utility company. The company employs more than 6,800 dedicated professionals who provide regulated and market-based drinking water, wastewater and other related services to 15 million people in 46 states. American Water provides safe, clean, affordable and reliable water services to our customers to make sure we keep their lives flowing.

For more information, visit amwater.com and follow American Water on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

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Feature Stories Recent News

Water Quality Reports Available Online for New Jersey American Water Customers

CAMDEN, N.J. – June 3, 2020 – New Jersey American Water’s annual Water Quality Reports are now accessible via the company’s website – www.newjerseyamwater.com – under the Water Quality tab.

Each year, New Jersey American Water compiles its annual Water Quality Reports (also called Consumer Confidence Reports) for customers and other stakeholders, detailing the quality of water supplied by the company to each community served. The report outlines the quality of water provided using data from water quality testing conducted in local systems between January and December of 2019. Data collected is shown in comparison to the compliance standards established by both the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP), including regulations specifically related to lead.

“New Jersey American Water is pleased to report that, once again, the drinking water supplied to our customers meets or surpasses both state and federal standards for all regulated substances,” explained Cheryl Norton, president of New Jersey American Water. “When it comes to water quality and regulatory compliance, we’re proud to be a leader. We encourage our customers to read through the information provided in their specific community reports to better understand the work we do and our commitment to providing high-quality water.”

The report gives an overview of local drinking water sources for each community and details the extensive testing conducted on the company’s water each year. Additionally, the report highlights the substances detected in the treated water, as well as the levels of those substances prior to treatment. As an additional layer of education and transparency, the report also details results of tests conducted for certain unregulated compounds, in areas where they are present and thus treated to achieve levels below recommended health guidelines.

New Jersey American Water relies on the expertise of more than 800 professionals across the state to ensure that the water delivered to customers meets or surpasses state and federal standards. From plant operators and engineers to water distribution professionals, these experts continuously monitor and test the water, and maintain facilities and infrastructure across the state to maintain safe, efficient operations.

“Our 2019 results are a testament to our employees’ hard work and dedication to excellence,” said Norton. “Their work is further enhanced through investment in our infrastructure, including treatment plants, tanks, pump stations, pipes, fire hydrants and metering equipment. In 2019 alone, we invested more than $375 million to improve our water treatment and delivery systems across the state. We take what we do very seriously and care about our customers just as much as we care about the quality of our water and service.”

How to Access the Report

Customers can access the Water Quality report specific to their area by going to the Water Quality tab on New Jersey American Water’s website and searching for their report by zip code.

The company also created a video to show customers how to access their reports. Printed copies of the report are available to customers who do not wish to access it online. Customers can call the company’s customer service center at 800-272-1325 to request a hard copy of their local report.

To learn more about New Jersey American Water’s commitment to water education, environmental stewardship and quality service, visit www.newjerseyamwater.com.

About New Jersey American Water

New Jersey American Water, a subsidiary of American Water (NYSE: AWK), is the largest investor-owned water utility in the state, providing high-quality and reliable water and/or wastewater services to approximately 2.8 million people. For more information, visit www.newjerseyamwater.com and follow New Jersey American Water on Twitter and Facebook

About American Water 

With a history dating back to 1886, American Water is the largest and most geographically diverse U.S. publicly traded water and wastewater utility company. The company employs more than 6,800 dedicated professionals who provide regulated and market-based drinking water, wastewater and other related services to 15 million people in 46 states. American Water provides safe, clean, affordable and reliable water services to our customers to make sure we keep their lives flowing.

For more information, visit amwater.com and follow American Water on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

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Bright Side Covid-19

New Jersey American Water Donates 1,600 Pounds of Food and $2,000 to Southern New Jersey Food Banks

New Jersey American Water’s South Operations employees from Water Works Union Local 99 deliver 400 pounds of food to the Food Bank of South Jersey. Pictured from left: Christopher Sabatina, Joseph Field, Matthew Govito, LeVar Black (kneeling), Walter Buzby, Bob Brown, John Walsh and Andrew Glass. Photograph taken by Sean Roscoe. Not pictured: Michael Watts.

CAMDEN, N.J. – May 28, 2020 – Led by the Water Workers Union Local 99, New Jersey American Water South Operations employees donated 1,600 pounds of food and $2,000 from New Jersey American Water to four local food banks in Burlington, Camden, Gloucester and Salem Counties last week. Burlington Township Food Pantry, Food Bank of South Jersey, Pitman Pantry and St. John Outreach Food Bank each received 400 pounds of food and $500 to help fight hunger in these communities.

“Food insecurity is an obstacle many individuals face every day, but right now, more people than ever are relying on extra help to get through these difficult times,” said David Forcinito, Senior Director of South Operations at New Jersey American Water. “I am so proud of my team and especially Michael Watts, President of the Water Workers Union Local 99 for leading this effort.”

For more information about food insecurity and to locate a food bank near you, visit www.feedingamerica.org.

About New Jersey American Water

New Jersey American Water, a subsidiary of American Water (NYSE: AWK), is the largest investor-owned water utility in the state, providing high-quality and reliable water and/or wastewater services to approximately 2.8 million people.

For more information, visit www.newjerseyamwater.com and follow New Jersey American Water on Twitter and Facebook

About American Water 

With a history dating back to 1886, American Water is the largest and most geographically diverse U.S. publicly traded water and wastewater utility company. The company employs more than 6,800 dedicated professionals who provide regulated and market-based drinking water, wastewater and other related services to 15 million people in 46 states. American Water provides safe, clean, affordable and reliable water services to our customers to make sure we keep their lives flowing.

For more information, visit amwater.com and follow American Water on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

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Bright Side Covid-19 News

First Responder Organizations Receive $10,000 in Donations From New Jersey American Water for COVID-19 Relief

New Jersey American Water is providing $10,000 in donations to the COVID-19 emergency funds of two first responder support organizations in New Jersey. New Jersey American Water is donating $5,000 each to the EMS Council of New Jersey and the New Jersey Firemen’s Home.

“We are so pleased to be able to support organizations that provide aid to the first responders who serve our communities throughout the state year-round but especially during this public health emergency,” said Cheryl Norton, President of New Jersey American Water. “These donations are just one way New Jersey American Water says thank you for the bravery and selflessness of our everyday heroes.”

The 90-year-old nonprofit EMS Council of New Jersey represents 17,000 EMS volunteers affiliated with 259 first aid and rescue agencies throughout the state.

“Volunteer EMS is an integral part of New Jersey’s prehospital response system,” said Barbara Platt, President of the EMS Council of New Jersey. “Our member organizations are comprised of volunteers who rely on donations and fundraisers to buy equipment and PPE. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced cancellation of numerous fundraising activities for our squads, so we’re grateful for New Jersey American Water’s support during this difficult time. This donation will help us secure much-needed PPE to help keep our volunteers safe as they continue serving their communities.”

The New Jersey Firemen’s Home is the only nursing home and residential-care facility dedicated to the state’s 77,000 active and retired firefighters. The home, administrated by the New Jersey Firemen’s Board of Managers, has served over 1,787 people since it opened over 100 years ago in Boonton and currently offers 75 long-term beds, 20 residential, and 10 memory care.

“New Jersey American Water’s contribution to our COVID-19 relief fund will help us purchase the essential supplies needed to protect the health of our residents, staff, and nurses who are working very hard during this difficult time,” said Hugh Flood, Superintendent and CFO of the New Jersey Firemen’s Home.

Last month, New Jersey American Water and the American Water Charitable Foundation together provided $65,000 in donations to the COVID-19 emergency response funds of the Cooper Health Foundation, Inspira Health, RWJBarnabas Health, and the New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund.

About New Jersey American Water:

New Jersey American Water, a subsidiary of American Water (NYSE: AWK), is the largest investor-owned water utility in the state, providing high-quality and reliable water and/or wastewater services to approximately 2.8 million people.

For more information, visit www.newjerseyamwater.com and follow New Jersey American Water on Twitter and Facebook

About American Water 

With a history dating back to 1886, American Water is the largest and most geographically diverse U.S. publicly traded water and wastewater utility company. The company employs more than 6,800 dedicated professionals who provide regulated and market-based drinking water, wastewater and other related services to 15 million people in 46 states.

American Water provides safe, clean, affordable and reliable water services to our customers to make sure we keep their lives flowing. For more information, visit amwater.com and follow American Water on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Categories
Feature Stories Recent News

New Jersey American Water Offers Wise Water Tips for Warmer Weather

With the spring season in full swing and summer on the way, New Jersey American Water is offering tips to customers to help avoid the water overuse pitfalls that frequently happen this time of year. These tips and insights are designed to help customers save money while alleviating stress on water supplies and infrastructure as we head into the warmer weather months.

“More families are home and venturing to their yards to engage in outdoor activities, many involving an increase use of their water,” said Thomas Shroba, vice president of operations at New Jersey American Water. “Unfortunately, many customers don’t think about the amount of water they are using ‘in the moment’ and the reality hits when they get a higher water bill. Our goal is to raise people’s awareness and help them be proactive with simply tips they can implement now and save later.”

New Jersey American Water wants to remind people of the value and finite supply of water, while empowering them with tips they can use every day to reduce usage and save money. Here are some wise water tips for outdoor water use:

  • Reuse it. Use water from rain barrels and kiddie pools for watering lawn and gardens.
  • Embrace the bucket! Instead of using a running hose, use water contained in a bucket for washing cars and pets, and rinsing sandy/grassy feet.
  • Timing is everything. Only water during the coolest parts of the day (early morning or evening) to minimize evaporation. Also, be aware of which plants don’t need to be watered every day.
  • Odd/Even Watering of your lawn. Watering your lawn uses a lot of water, so only water your lawn when it needs it. Generally, lawns only need an inch or so of water per week.
  • Rain delay. Watch weather forecast to avoid “Mother Nature” re-watering your garden, which could also damage plants.
  • Pick your plants wisely. Purchase varieties that require less water and remain hearty in drier weather. And don’t forget to mulch (only 2-3”) to help with water retention.
  • Be a leak detective. Find and fix leaks and breaks in hoses, sprinkler systems and pipes. For help, download New Jersey American Water’s Leak Detection Kit at newjerseyamwater.com under Water Information.
  • Raise the blade. Raise the level of your lawnmower blade to avoid lawn burnout and the need for watering.
  • Keep an eye out. Watch your sprinkler’s “sweep” to make sure all the water is reaching vegetation that needs it and not the pavement! Check this frequently in case a person or animal has accidentally redirected your sprinkler.

More tips for indoor and outdoor water use can be found on New Jersey American Water’s website at www.newjerseyamwater.com.

“We’re encouraging people to be smart about their water usage. By following these wise water usage tips, we hope customers see how easy they are to implement and begin to make year-round water conservation practices a part of every-day life,” said Shroba.

In addition, the company wants to remind lower income customers that they may qualify to receive assistance in paying their water bill through New Jersey American Water’s H2O Help to Others Program. For more information, visit www.newjerseyamwater.com/H2OProgram.

About New Jersey American Water
New Jersey American Water, a subsidiary of American Water (NYSE: AWK), is the largest investor-owned water utility in the state, providing high-quality and reliable water and/or wastewater services to approximately 2.8 million people. For more information, visit www.newjerseyamwater.com and follow New Jersey American Water on Twitter and Facebook

About American Water 
With a history dating back to 1886, American Water is the largest and most geographically diverse U.S. publicly traded water and wastewater utility company. The company employs more than 6,800 dedicated professionals who provide regulated and market-based drinking water, wastewater and other related services to 15 million people in 46 states. American Water provides safe, clean, affordable and reliable water services to our customers to make sure we keep their lives flowing. For more information, visit amwater.com and follow American Water on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.