Oct 13, 2021

New Jersey's Passaic Valley Water Commission Tests Water Quality After Hurricane Ida's Runoff Spills Into Reservoir

About 270,000 of New Jersey's Paterson, Passaic and Clifton residents are urged to continue boiling their tap water for as long as a month.

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New Jersey crews have started testing drinking water quality after they finished flushing the Passaic Valley Water Commission’s pipes and hydrants.

These water supplies may have been contaminated after runoff from the remnants of Hurricane Ida spilled into a reservoir, reported Bergen Record.

About 270,000 Paterson, Passaic and Clifton residents are urged to continue boiling their tap water for as long as a month until all the contamination that spilled into the New Street Reservoir during Ida flooding gets flushed away, according to officials on Sept. 14.

The commission began pumping 4 million gallons of clean water into the 52 million-gallon reservoir after the hurricane passed, reported Bergen Record. According to officials, they already have seen improvement in the water quality and said it would take about 10 days to replace all the water in the reservoir.

The agency’s boil-water advisory remains in effect for the 270,000 residents, which are all connected to the 52 million gallon New Street reservoir on Garret Mountain in Woodland Park. reported Bergen Record.

According to commission spokesman Joe Getz, the agency must conduct three consecutive days of tests at 36 locations distributed throughout the system without finding any contamination. If there is no contamination under these conditions, it can lift the boil-water advisory.

Early indications are that the samples from Oct. 12 were clean, according to officials. The agency will know by Oct. 14 if all samples met the testing criteria and then may ask to lift the advisory, reported Bergen Record.

Officials said the commission may end up spending millions of dollars flushing the reservoir, providing free water and taking other measures, reported Bergen Record.

The commission’s acting executive director, Louis Amodio, said the agency’s reverse-911 call system has phone numbers for only about 60,000 of the families that get their water from the New Street Reservoir, reported Bergen Record. The agency recently changed its phone notification systems, which officials believe the crisis has been exacerbated by the water commission’s customer notification system.

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