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Edison Water Utility moving into 21st century with signficant projects

EDISON – The Edison Water Utility is essentially moving into the 21st century with the movement of three significant projects.

The Township Council approved three resolutions for three separate contracts to authorize Mott MacDonald, South Iselin, to provide additional engineering services at a meeting on March 11.

“The three projects are essential to the operation, maintenance, safety, security and future growth of not just the water system, but the waste water system as well,” said Robert Smith, director of the Edison Water Utility.

One resolution authorizes Mott MacDonald to provide additional engineering services in connection with technical updates required for the GIS (Geographic Information System) database supporting the water utility in the amount of $50,000.

Smith said the GIS system will tell the utility a story where essential valves and hydrants are in the system.

“You have a system in place right now turned over by [New Jersey] American Water that hasn’t been updated in many years,” he said.

Smith added a GIS system is a requirement from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection as part of the Water Quality Accountability Act.

A second resolution authorizes Mott MacDonald to develop a SCADA system for the Water Utility in the amount of $87,800. The township does not have a SCADA system in place.

“[The SCADA system] will give us real time control and viewing of our system,” Smith said, adding the system will be in a central location and may save on labor costs.

The third resolution authorizes Mott MacDonald to connect with necessary calibration and model updates to the Water System Hydraulic Model supporting the Water Utility in the amount of $66,134.

Smith said the Water System Hydraulic Model will tell a true story of the utility’s collection of water in the township.

“This is our primary concern, our distribution system,” he said. “[The Water System Hydraulic Model] will tell us where we need to go, where we have deficiencies, where we have dead ends, where we have low pressure, where we have poor water quality … it will tell us a whole plethora of information.”

Smith added it will be beneficial when a developer comes in and wants to know if we have any water mains in a particular area and the utility will be able to provide the information through the hydraulic model system.

In other Edison Water Utility news, Smith said it will take a year to fix all the discrepancies they came into when the Edison Water Utility took over the water utility operation on Jan. 1.

The discrepancies include finding outdated meters, which were supposed to be changed, and finding some buildings and homes without meters.

“On a weekly basis we are finding more and more,” Smith said.

Smith said they are documenting all the discrepancies and writing brief descriptions. They are working with Township Attorney William Northgrave’s office to compile the information for use if they would want to collect and take action against New Jersey American Water down the road.

In 1997, Edison officials entered into a contract with New Jersey American Water to operate and manage the township’s water system in the south end.

In 2017, the township amended the contract, which ended that year, and extended it for two years so options could be considered, including the benefits of private operation of the water and sewer systems.

Municipal officials said New Jersey American Water wanted to buy Edison’s water system, but they were not interested due to loss of control.

In June 2019, New Jersey American Water agreed to extend its contract to operate and provide water service to south Edison until Dec. 31.

The Edison Water Utility was re-established following the passage of a referendum in September 2019 which mandated that the public water distribution system be operated and managed by the township.

Smith began his role of managing the township’s new water and sewer utility’s day-to-day operation, supervising personnel and overseeing maintenance in November 2019.

Effective Jan. 1, the utility operates and manages the water distribution system previously managed by New Jersey American Water.

For more information visit www.edisonwaterutility.org

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