Today, December 22, 2020, Trenton Water Works (TWW), the city-owned public water system that serves nearly a quarter-million consumers in five municipalities in Mercer County, will seek City Council approval to accept $15 million in funding from the New Jersey Infrastructure Bank (I-Bank). The funding will be used for Phase 3 of its six-year Lead Service Line Replacement Program (LSLRP) according to Trenton Mayor W. Reed Gusciora in his announcement yesterday.
If approved, Phase 3 of the LSLRP will remove 1,850 more lead services (short for lead service lines) from TWW’s 683-mile water distribution system and private homes in its service area, except for Hopewell Township, which has newer infrastructure. Fifty percent of the funding, $7.5 million, is a grant from I-Bank, an independent state financing authority that issues revenue bonds to make loans to finance the construction of eligible environmental and transportation infrastructure projects.
In the $25 million Phase 1 of the LSLRP, TWW personnel and two vendors operating under publicly awarded contracts with TWW—South State, Inc. and Spiniello Companies—have removed 2,620 lead services in Hamilton Township and Trenton.
Phase 1 is on track to remove a total of 3,850 lead services by April 2021. The $25 million Phase 2 process of the LSLRP, which begins in April 2021, will remove 3,500 lead services by March 2022.
Phase 3 starts in June 2021, with plans to remove 1,850 lead services by May 2022. TWW will utilize personnel from its construction and maintenance operations to remove 900 lead services, bringing the combined total number of lead services removed from TWW’s water-distribution system to 10,000. The LSLRP is a critical capital project that is a part of TWW’s six-year, $405-million capital plan announced in 2020.
“When I took office in July 2018, I pledged to apply the leadership and resources necessary to modernize Trenton Water Works, which has nearly 63,000 customers, and to prioritize this policy goal,” said Mayor Gusciora. “TWW has made substantial progress in regulatory and administrative consent order compliance, developing and executing a $405-million capital plan, implementing corrosion control, removing lead services in the TWW system and at private homes, improving customer service and strengthening its workforce. Much work remains, particularly addressing lead, and we are determined to remove all lead services from the TWW system within five-to-six years.”
According to TWW’s inventory, there are 17,463 lead services in Trenton, 11,618 in Hamilton Township, 5,236 in Ewing Township and 2,383 in Lawrence Township. Hopewell Township has no lead services because its infrastructure is newer. TWW regularly revises its overall inventory as it assesses pipe materials at private homes, using internal survey teams, LSLRP contractors and information from homeowners. Service-line pipe material made of galvanized steel is considered a lead service.
Homeowners who have verified that their pipe material is galvanized steel can still sign up for a future phase of the LSLRP at twwleadprogram.com. Residents can also refer their questions about the program to a hotline – (609) 989-3600 – and will receive a return call from a TWW community-relations team member within 24 hours.
“I am asking Trenton city residents to phone your councilperson to request support for this additional round of funding for the Lead Service Line Replacement Program. The removal of lead pipes from the TWW system is contingent on available funding and a nexus of cooperation from state and local leaders, including our City Council,” said Mayor Gusciora. “The removal of lead infrastructure from our water system is integral to maintaining high water quality and public health and wellness for many years to come.”