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The City owns the Drinking Water Infrastructure System that provides water transmission and distribution services to the 55,000+ residents and commercial and industrial establishments in Hoboken. Drinking water for the City is currently purchased from the Jersey City Municipal Utilities Authority (JCMUA).

There are more than 41 miles of water main in the System. The majority of pipes range in age from 100 years and older, to sections installed as recently as 2020. Transmission and distribution pipe sizes within the System range from 30-inch diameter down to 4-inch diameter, and water services typically range between 6 inches and 5/8 inches. The System service area includes the entire City.

Drinking Water System

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Drinking Water System

The City owns the Drinking Water Infrastructure System that provides water transmission and distribution services to the 55,000+ residents and commercial and industrial establishments in Hoboken. Drinking water for the City is currently purchased from the Jersey City Municipal Utilities Authority (JCMUA).

There are more than 41 miles of water main in the System. The majority of pipes range in age from 100 years and older, to sections installed as recently as 2020. Transmission and distribution pipe sizes within the System range from 30-inch diameter down to 4-inch diameter, and water services typically range between 6 inches and 5/8 inches. The System service area includes the entire City.

Why do we have so many water main breaks?

Some parts of Hoboken’s water system are more than 100 years old. The majority of the system is nearing the end of its useful life. As cast iron pipes age, they become brittle and are more prone to break from changes in temperature, pressure fluctuations, or vibrations.

Why are the pipes so old?

Beginning in 1994, the City of Hoboken sold the rights to the water system until 2024. A 30-year revenue stream of approximately $240 million was sold to United Water (now SUEZ) in exchange for $13.2 million dollars in one-time payments. That former agreement required Suez to make almost no proactive investment in Hoboken’s water infrastructure. In the past two plus decades, only $350,000 per year was invested in the system, and as a result, only 5% of the system had been upgraded before 2017.

What is the City of Hoboken doing to fix the problem?

The City is pursuing two parallel strategies to improve the water distribution infrastructure: direct investment and an amended agreement for operations and maintenance of the water system with SUEZ.

Direct Investment

The City is directly financing $10.2 million in upgrades to Hoboken’s water system. This will be in addition to the $7 million water main replacement on Washington Street that was recently completed.

Washington Street Redesign

As part of the Washington Street redesign, the City financed a $7 million low-interest loan from the NJ Environmental Infrastructure Trust (NJEIT) to upgrade the water mains along Washington Street. The water main replacement on Washington Street was completed in 2019, and upgraded 3% of the system. For project information, visit the Washington Street Project website.

Water System Renewal Program

With support from professional engineering consultants, the City developed a comprehensive water system renewal program to make continued investments in Hoboken’s drinking water infrastructure. The program includes 67 discrete locations for water main replacement to upgrade an additional 20% of the system.

The City Council approved Bond Ordinance 16-449, Z-426 and Bond Ordinance 17-340, Z-497, and the City has applied for a low-interest loan from the NJEIT to fund the first phase of implementation. The first phase includes eight (8) areas totaling 7,035 LF or 15 blocks of water main upgrades that are currently under construction. The second phase should begin construction in fall 2020. Learn more about construction of Hoboken Water Main Upgrades Phase 1.

See the map below for the 67 water main replacement locations included in the current water system renewal program.

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Click here to review the Hoboken Water System Renewal Program

Amended Agreement with SUEZ

The City of Hoboken and SUEZ have agreed to a new water service contract that will invest at least $33 million in water infrastructure upgrades through 2034. The amended agreement established a new public water utility on July 1, 2019. It includes an average of $2.2 million in water investments per year, over six times the amount of the former contract. Additionally, the contract calls for $2 million in smart technology to monitor water consumption, which would save Hoboken ratepayers from paying for costly leaks.

SUEZ continues to maintain and operate the water system. However, the amended agreement established the Hoboken Water Utility, which collects the revenue from water consumption and reinvests the majority of that revenue into water main upgrades. The water system is no longer operated as a private water concession, under which revenue became profits for SUEZ. Instead of the revenue from the system going to SUEZ with only minimal repairs required, it is now directly invested by the Hoboken Water Utility into proactive upgrades.

How is my water quality?

In fact, it’s quite good! SUEZ has prepared a detailed water quality report. The SUEZ Consumer Confidence Report (CCR) shows how Hoboken measured up to state and federal standards for safe drinking water in 2019. Click here to view the Hoboken Water Quality Report. Please call 800 575 4433 if you would prefer a paper report mailed to your home.

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