New Jersey Conservation Foundation
New Jersey Conservation Foundation Menu
NJCF Homepage Contact Us Donate Events Search NJCF
New Jersey Land Conservation Organization
Donate to New Jersey Conservation Foundation
State We're In New Jersey Conservation Foundation Blog
New Jersey's aging water infrastructure
11/16/2017 Volume XLVII, No. 46

If you’re like most people, you probably don’t pay much attention to where your water comes from or where it goes. But, according to the Jersey Water Works collaborative, you should!

Jersey Water Works was founded in 2015 to raise awareness of the state’s aging water infrastructure - the essential systems that deliver drinking water, remove and treat sewage, and take stormwater off of our streets. Jersey Water Works is also finding innovative solutions to modernize and improve our water systems.

Given the age and condition of water infrastructure in New Jersey’s oldest cities and towns, this is an enormous task. And it’s expensive, with an estimated price tag of $25 billion over 20 years.

“Water infrastructure is so often not thought of until the streets and businesses in your community are shut down and you cannot drink the water coming out of your tap," said Mark Mauriello, a former New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection commissioner and a current co-chair of Jersey Water Works.

Jersey Water Works is a cross-sector collaborative of 350 members representing about 220 organizations, all working together to transform New Jersey’s water infrastructure with cost-effective, sustainable solutions. The collaborative is staffed by New Jersey Future, a Trenton-based policy nonprofit.

One of the biggest problems is fixing what are called “combined sewer systems” in 21 of New Jersey’s oldest cities—systems in which stormwater runoff from city streets combines with sewage and is sent to treatment plants.

These outmoded systems, some of which are more than 100 years old, often become overwhelmed during heavy rain, and the mixture of stormwater and untreated sewage overflows into rivers and streams. The mixture can also back up into streets, parks and even residential basements. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that every year, more than 7 billion gallons of raw sewage are dumped into waterways.

In contrast, modern systems don’t send stormwater to treatment plants, thus reducing the volume of water to be treated and avoiding overflows.

“It’s a huge public health and environmental justice issue,” said Meishka Mitchell of the Cooper’s Ferry Partnership in Camden, a Jersey Water Works Steering Committee member. “A lot of localized flooding takes place in New Jersey’s most disenfranchised communities.” ? ?

Leaking water pipes are another huge problem, wasting an estimated 130 million gallons of drinking water a day in New Jersey alone, according to estimates by the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Updating and maintaining New Jersey’s water infrastructure – and paying for it - is a challenge for all levels of government, including our incoming new governor.

On Friday, Dec. 1, Jersey Water Works will host its third annual conference in Newark, bringing together more than 300 state and local decision-makers, planners, engineers, utility representatives, residents and other stakeholders.

Christopher Daggett, president and CEO of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation and a former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency administrator, will moderate a panel on priorities for the incoming administration of Governor-elect Phil Murphy. A new report, “Our Water Transformed: An Action Agenda for New Jersey’s Water Infrastructure,” will be released and discussed.

Another panel will explore what New Jersey can learn from New York State’s $2.5 billion water infrastructure investment.  And in her keynote address, Kishia Powell, commissioner of Atlanta’s Department of Watershed Management, will share her nationally recognized work and outline approaches that New Jersey communities can replicate.

Learn more about our water infrastructure by visiting Jersey Water Works at and by attending the Jersey Water Works Conference on Dec. 1 in Newark. You can find more information about the conference, including how to register, at

And for information about preserving New Jersey’s land and natural resources, visit the New Jersey Conservation Foundation website at or contact me at



Protect New Jersey's wildlife homes

Preserved lands protect clean air and water

To tree or not to tree?

Hard cider in the Garden State

Turkey Time

American shad return to New Jersey river after 173 years

Act now to avoid worst climate impacts

NJ Natural Lands Trust celebrates 50 years

Must love bats!

Move and improve your health!

Renewable energy: Save money and our land, water, air and health

Speak up for endangered species!

Save the bugs!

Check out New Jersey's fall bird migration

A little bit of respect...for native plants!

Explore New Jersey's wildflower meadows

All aboard floating classrooms

Catch the Perseids meteor shower!

Check out the 'fun' in fungi

Too hot to think? Studies shows heat affects your brain

Love NJ's outdoors? Take action now!

New Jersey's official reptile, the bog turtle

Sea level rise and New Jersey: Not perfect together

These New Jersey plants have an appetite for insects

Explore the Pine Barrens through paddles, hikes and tours

Like to jog? 'Plog' instead and keep NJ clean

Love Jersey fruit? Thank our native pollinators!

Good news for globally rare swamp pink lilies

Say cheese! Remote cameras aid wildlife research

Begone, single-use plastic bags!

3,000 birds and counting for 'bluebird grandfather'

The Pine Barrens gets some help from its friends

A clean energy future for New Jersey

Cowtown and rare grassland birds, perfect together

Fight light pollution during International Dark Sky Week

New film tells story of how Petty's Island was saved

Ten years of nipping invasive species in the bud

Welcome spring in a county park

Go for a walk and feel better!

Grab a friend and go outside

Recycle your way to zero waste!

Last call for winter wildlife watching on Jersey coast

Without its 'understory' layer, the forest will collapse

From whale songs to poetry, a remarkable journey

A cleaner, greener New Jersey

Let's keep New Jersey the Garden State, not the Pipeline State

New Jersey's winter hikes

'Trees don't vote' but Byrne saved Pine Barrens anyway

Governor-elect Murphy should set new course on the environment

Protect soils to keep the garden in our state


December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011


New Jersey Conservation Foundation on FacebookNew Jersey Conservation Foundation on TwitterNew Jersey Conservation Foundation on FlickrNew Jersey Conservation Foundation YouTube ChannelShare      
New Jersey Conservation Foundation           Bamboo Brook, 170 Longview Road, Far Hills, NJ 07931           908-234-1225 
home  | nj statewide eventscontact us  |  sitemap  |  privacy policy  |  DONATE