E NOTICE - Lifting of Stage 4 Water Restrictions and Chlorine Incident
Effective Thursday, October 8, 2015, all water restrictions will be lifted. Even though rainfall in our area remains below normal, lower temperatures and the onset of autumn are expected to limit the peaks in demand for water that severely stressed the distribution system this summer. The combination of Stage 4 restrictions and stricter enforcement resulted in a successful outcome – we thank our residents who did comply with Stage 4 restrictions and encourage all to make water conservation a permanent part of their lifestyles. Ridgewood Water will be investigating ways to encourage efficient water use and will be seeking the input of residents from all of the communities we serve.
In the last couple of days we did have a chlorine incident that I would like to explain to you. Just a couple of facts regarding the chlorine agent that we use:
• Liquid sodium hypochlorite is standard in the industry for almost 100 years
• Its use is mandatory in order to control viruses and bacteria
• It is measured in parts per million
• Our wells are set to shut down at 3.5 parts per million
• Chlorine begins to impact taste and smell at 2 parts per million
• DEP guidelines set 4 parts per million as the maximum residual
• EPA guidelines require notification to consumers within 30 days
Ridgewood’s water was running at a high of 5 parts per million at some point during Monday-Tuesday of this week. It was a direct result of two issues at the Twinney Water Treatment Facility and impacted those homes served by that facility. The first issue was that a pump failed and the second was that the automatic notification and shut down the well was also not operational. Since it is impractical to identify the exact limits of the affected area, the entire Village community was notified as a precaution.
Ridgewood Water followed all necessary DEP and EPA protocol including notifications and the DEP indicated that it was our decision to flush the system and that this was not a violation. The system was flushed and Twinney was again operational by 5:00 yesterday.
There is nothing that suggests that there was a hazardous public health issue…….however, what I believe could have been done better is a customer service issue and that is more effective communication with our residents. Although technically and legally communications were handled well within guidelines, we should be better than that. And I apologize for that. We did conduct a post mortem this morning with all staff involved and have identified steps in the communication process that can be strengthened including making sure that the correct Ridgewood employee is conducting the communications and that we are quicker to notify the public.
One more important notification
Ridgewood Water will be performing system maintenance beginning on October 19, 2015. This work will include the operation of fire hydrants at high velocity which may stir up minerals that have previously precipitated out of the water. This may temporarily discolor the water. The operation of the hydrants will be conducted late at night to minimize effects on consumers. There are no health concerns associated with the minerals that get stirred up, but residents are urged to avoid laundering clothing during the work. Ridgewood Water will notify residents in specific areas of impending work using the Swiftreach calling system. You may register to receive these calls by clicking on the SwiftH2O link on our website homepage at water.ridgewoodnj.net. Maps showing the active work zones will be posted on the website and will be provided to local officials. You may call our Operating Center with questions at 201-670-5524. We thank you for your patience during this temporary inconvenience as we work to improve your customer experience.