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Posted on: November 21, 2018

Mayor Gusciora to Congressman: Ok, We’ll Take the Help!

Letter accepts offer of assistance with Trenton Water Works, asks for help with covering reservoir

TRENTON, N.J. – Yesterday, Mayor W. Reed Gusciora sent a letter accepting an offer of federal assistance by Congressman Chris Smith (NJ-4) to improve and upgrade the regional water utility, Trenton Water Works (TWW).

“Congressman, I recently read of your reiterated support for Trenton Water Works and I write to inform you that I am more than happy to take you up on your offer to provide assistance,” Mayor Gusciora wrote in the letter, which he also copied to Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12). “The covering of the reservoir is by far TWW’s most expensive and logistically challenging undertaking. I respectfully request your assistance in helping to identify and secure federal dollars to support the project. In the days and weeks ahead, my team and the TWW leadership team would like to meet with you to brief you on the project and to enlist your counsel on pursuing and procuring a source of federal funding.”

Rep. Smith offered his support in an article titled, “GOP Rep. Chris Smith reiterates offer to improve Trenton Water Works,” published in The Trentonian on November 10, 2018. Mayor Gusciora asked Rep. Smith to examine whether any assistance could be garnered during a “lame duck” session as Rep. Smith’s Republican Party still has full control over Congress and the White House.

Trenton Water Works is the public water utility that supplies drinking water to a quarter-million residents in the city of Trenton, as well as Hamilton, Ewing, Lawrence, and Hopewell townships, parts of which include the Fourth Congressional District, represented by Rep. Smith. TWW is among the largest publicly-owned, urban water utilities in the United States. Established more than 200 years ago, TWW now has 119 employees operating a sprawling water-filtration plant and water-distribution system, including a 100-million-gallon reservoir. TWW supplies an average of 27 million gallons of drinking water per day to 66,000 metered customers.

Letter text:

November 20, 2018

Dear Congressman Smith:

Congressman, I recently read of your reiterated support for Trenton Water Works and I write to inform you that I am more than happy to take you up on your offer to provide assistance.

As you may know, my administration is executing an aggressive plan, led by Dr. Shing-Fu Hsueh, P.E., P.P., whom I appointed on July 1, 2018, to reorganize and transform Trenton Water Works (TWW), the public water system that supplies approximately 27 million gallons of drinking water per day to residents in five municipalities in Mercer County, including parts of New Jersey’s Fourth Congressional District.

TWW is complying with two Administrative Consent Orders (ACO) issued by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) earlier this year that specify deadline-driven improvements to TWW’s operations, water-system distribution infrastructure, and its response time to abating lead-service lines at residential properties. The DEP has also directed the water utility to cover its 100-million-gallon Pennington Avenue Reservoir, a $27-million capital project, by 2023. The reservoir stores approximately three days of finished water from TWW’s water-filtration plant.

As TWW undertakes a number of costly capital projects that will ensure high-quality drinking water for residents, improved infrastructure and operational performance, and better long-term communications with its customers, I’m concerned about the ability of TWW’s balance sheet to fully fund these projects, even with ratepayer funding.

The covering of the reservoir is by far TWW’s most expensive and logistically challenging undertaking. I respectfully request your assistance in helping to identify and secure federal dollars to support the project. In the days and weeks ahead, my team and the TWW leadership team would like to meet with you to brief you on the project and to enlist your counsel on pursuing and procuring a source of federal funding.

Yoshi Manale, my chief of staff, will reach out to you to set a meeting that aligns with your schedule. I understand there may even be some opportunities during this year’s remaining session to create forward motion on this issue.

As you have been an ally to the City of Trenton in the past, including but not limited to the help you and your staff provided with a situation regarding the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development recently, I am confident that we can find common cause to improve the lives of Trenton Water Works customers.

I have copied Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman on this letter, as she has also conveyed a commitment to assisting in the efforts to improve the drinking water for the greater Trenton region.

Sincerely,

W. Reed Gusciora
Mayor

 

###

CONTACT: Timothy J. Carroll

tcarroll@trentonnj.org

Office: (609) 989-3047

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