New Jersey American Water’s investment in infrastructure was not slowed by the COVID-19 pandemic — it actually increased by approximately 20%, the company announced Thursday.
More than $464 million total was invested on system upgrades and various improvement projects statewide throughout the year, an increase of approximately $80 million over the company’s original capital investment plan in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency.
President Cheryl Norton said the increased investment was part of the company’s efforts to fight against the virus.
“Our annual capital investment is typically in the $350 million to $375 million range, but, in 2020, we were able to increase our planned investment by about $80 million in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency,” she said.
“We were able to work with state and local officials to perform additional pipe replacement jobs, which were aligned with municipal paving projects. This resulted in better value and service for our customers, as well as increased jobs, which helps families and the local economy.”
New Jersey American Water, based in Camden, is a subsidiary of American Water and is the largest investor-owned water utility in the state, providing water and/or wastewater services to approximately 2.8 million people.
Each year, the company invests millions of dollars in its infrastructure, which includes both maintenance and upgrades to its treatment and distribution pipelines. This includes regular maintenance and upgrades to treatment plants, tanks, pump stations, miles of pipe, water mains, fire hydrants and metering equipment.
For 2020, system improvement highlights include:
Mains: The company invested $174 million in more than 66 miles of main to replace and rehabilitate aging pipe and install new main to serve additional areas. It also invested more than $2.5 million in leak detection equipment in 2020 to further enhance its teams’ ability to respond to leaks and breaks.
Source water, treatment and other production system improvements: The company invested more than $93.5 million for improvements to its water treatment facilities across the state in 2020. Those facilities and projects include:
- Raritan Millstone Water Treatment Plant — filter rehabilitation, emergency power and recycle pump improvements;
- Springfield Station — PFOS treatment enhancements;
- Swimming River Water Treatment Plant — second clearwell, electrical upgrades and emergency power;
- 52nd Street Station in Ocean City, Otterbrook Well 29 and Spruce Road in Howell — well station improvements;
- Navesink Tank Station, Asbury Avenue Tank Station and Shorelands — treatment and chemical safety upgrades;
- Various facilities around the state — automation and control system upgrades.
Fire hydrants: The company replaced 457 fire hydrants and 495 valves across the state, an approximately $19.4 million investment.
Service lines: The company replaced 3,828 service lines; an investment totaling approximately $36.9 million.
Tanks/storage: The company rehabilitated four water tanks and conducted detailed inspections on 45 tanks, an investment totaling approximately $7.9 million.
In 2020, the company also introduced its START — Solutions Today and Reinvesting Tomorrow — initiative, which aims to accelerate investment projects to continue to provide safe, reliable water and wastewater service while increasing supplier diversity initiatives and creating a workforce development program to help create jobs.
Norton said the program aligns with the mission of the utility.
“At New Jersey American Water, our goal is to provide safe, reliable water service to all of our customers,” she said. “From source to tap, our team of professionals works hard to maintain our facilities to keep them operating efficiently, meeting regulatory standards and delivering high-quality water. Investment now helps sustain our current operations while supporting resiliency for the future —all to benefit our customers.”