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Posted on: December 20, 2019

Gusciora to City Council: Stop Playing Politics Over Public Health

Water Reservoir

Improvements to Drinking Water Shot-Down in Last Night’s Votes

Trenton N.J. –Mayor W. Reed Gusciora issued the following statement in response to last night’s City Council’s vote which denied the reappointment of Steven J. Picco as continued Acting Director of Trenton Water Works and putting a halt to necessary Capital improvements.

“Last night, City Council chose politics over public health by not approving the reappointment of our Department of Water and Sewer Acting Director Steve J. Picco, a former DEP Assistant Commissioner, and national expert on water resources. They would like to disrupt the substantial progress TWW has made over the last year and a half by shamelessly and recklessly jeopardizing our water quality. By voting NO, they put their own political interests over the welfare of all TWW service-area residents. I hope they reconsider their actions tonight and immediately commit to approving our qualified and proven Acting Director at TWW while we continue a national search for a permanent Director.”

“Under Acting Director Picco, TWW has added 45 full time positions, most of whom are Trenton residents. This is more than the previous two administrations combined. We continue to rely less on outside vendor contracts and are beginning our long-awaited lead service line replacement program. The City Council has voted to not support our efforts to eliminate lead from our drinking water. They are endangering the health of residents within our service area, especially our children.”

Under Acting Director Picco, TWW has made tremendous strides including the:

  • Implementation of an Aggressive Disinfection Byproducts Reduction Plan to eliminate DBP’s from our drinking water.
  • Upgrading of key water-treatment systems, including four Superpulsators.
  • Rehabilitation of two chlorine contact basins to improve disinfection of raw water drawn from Delaware River.
  • Completed upgrade of SCADA system. This system allows plant personnel to control and monitor operations, filtration-process performance, pump stations, storage tanks and our 100-million-gallon reservoir.
  • Taking on of 40 capital projects over the next five years including our Lead Service Line Replacement Program.
  • Solidifying 405 million-dollar, 6-year capital plan which includes our 150 million-dollar Lead Service Line Replacement Program
  • Upgrade of our customer-service deliver platform, inducing the addition of invoice cloud a new telephone system, and additional CSR’s for higher call volume at our Cortland Street operations center.
  • Hiring more than 50 people, reducing TWW’s vacancy rate from 40% down to 10%

I will not allow this Council to continue playing politics with people’s drinking water. We do need to commend the efforts of Councilmembers Blakely, Caldwell-Wilson, and Harrison, for their voting in favor of Acting Director Picco, and Councilman Muschal for voting in favor of necessary bond ordinances.”

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PRESS CONTACT: Connor S. Ilchert

CIlchert@trentonnj.org

Office: (609) 989-3047

Cell: (609) 575-1880

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