New Jersey American Water Lays Out Plans to Fix Swimming River Pipeline

The project will span 8 months and cost $9.5 million.

After , many Monmouth County residents found themselves boiling water or conserving for neighboring towns.

Months later, NJAW has a $9.5 million plan to fix the busted pipes on Swimming River Road in Lincroft and a contingency plan for future emergencies.

Follow our coverage, from the broken pipelines to boil water advisories and water-use restrictions.

Officials at NJAW could not comment about what they call "the event," which occurred on June 29 when three main pipes burst and collapsed into the reservoir, cutting off the raw water intake to the treatment plant. The incident is currently under investigation by the Board of Public Utilities.

The BPU allowed NJAW to begin removing fallen pipes from the water last week, according to Peter Eschbach, Director of Communications and External Affairs for NJAW. However, full demolition has not been cleared by the board.

Esbach said the company is currently working on a permanent plan while investigations continue. 

Currently, the company is running temporary plastic and iron pipes around the grounds and on Swimming River Road, from the raw water intake station to the treatment plant. 

"This was the only way to get water into the plant. When we lost that bridge, the plant was useless," Esbach said.

In addition to fixing the pipes alongside the grounds, NJAW is currently fusing iron pipes which will act as a second feed into the plant. The pipes will run underwater, directly across the reservoir from the raw water intake station to the treatment plant.

"Our main goal right now is to get the pipes off of the county road as soon as possible," Chris Olson, project manager, said.

Placing piping underwater, which is also the plan for what will eventually be a new bridge, protects piping from weather vulnerability.

The two-phase project will take 8 months to complete, and total $9.5 million. Esbach said any rate increase customers see will have to be approved by the Board of Public Utilities after the investigation is complete.

The company is also currently working with its insurance company, which will cover some of the pipe breaks.

In order to complete the project, NJAW has asked permit agencies to rush construction and environmental permits. Permit processes can usually take up to one year, but NJAW has been cooperating with agencies in order to expedite the process.

NJAW has already laid 500 feet of piping, which will cross the reservoir. Officials said that phase of the project should be completed in October.

Before the bridge collapsed, a maintenance project was in the works for the Swimming River Reservoir bridge, which was built in the 1970's according to Esbach.

The broken pipes were made from steel, while the new pipes will be iron ductile pipes, which Esbach said are more reliable.

The Swimming River Reservoir Treatment Plant is the largest of three plants run by the company in New Jersey. It takes in 36 million gallons per day.

ei davis September 06, 2012 at 06:30 PM
I can remember when I was a child, my loving Uncle had taken my younger brother and I here to take us fishing. What a beautiful place! We were in his row boat. It was a if we were in the most beautiful, peaceful, and loving place on earth! We saw a ducks nest and I caught my first eel. What a great time we 3 had. Shame that there are children in NJ that never went fishing... I still find that strange. It was a family adventure for us. My parents, my uncle, friends, my brothers and sister. We had a blast! Please God. Never let me forget any of this..
Jenny Sigion September 06, 2012 at 10:40 PM
Wonderful, but we don't care about your eels. We care about a water company that has been negligent in its continuity planning!!
sheila duane September 07, 2012 at 03:43 PM
I suppose NJAW expects the customer to pay for this.
Peter Koenig September 07, 2012 at 04:04 PM
I thought the reminiscence was nice. On the substantive question: it strikes me as reasoable and fair that NJAW customers bear the reasonable cost of maintaining the water delivery system. The problems with this "event" were that (1) the pipes and structure should have been replaced on a non-emergency basis, and so (2) the service disruption was NJAW's fault. Therefore, (1) the pass-through to customers should be only the reasonable cost of non-emergency repairs (to the extent not covered by insurance - no double-dipping in the reservoir!) and (2) NJAW should compensate for the service interruption and its consequences. The increased costs resulting from the emergency nature of the work and the compensation for service interruption should be borne by NJAW (or its insurer) and not passed along to customers.
Joel MacLean September 09, 2012 at 09:42 PM
Who is going to reimburse me for the $400 I spent on Lawn Doctor, the $600 of landscaping and the additional $200 I spent on chemicals to have a nice lawn that were wasted because I couldn't water my lawn? The structure has been slowly falling apart for years. I drive by it all the time and have seen more and more missing planks over time. I wasn't surprised at all when I found out that was the cause. I would like to know how many bids were received and how the job of repair was handed out. Since the people in charge didn't plan for this well, why would we trust them for the bid handling. I want to see someone fired. I know if I made that mistake at my job and didn't have a continuity plan, I would be fired.


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