As you may know, Hoboken is currently under a contract dating back to 1994 with SUEZ to administer our water system. This outdated contract is embarrassingly insufficient to meet today’s water infrastructure needs in Hoboken. The contract provides no investments in replacing outdated water mains, with a paltry amount allocated to repairing water mains – but only when they are broken or in an emergency.

Quite simply – this current contract with SUEZ is unacceptable to the City of Hoboken.

At Wednesday’s council meeting, I’m thankful that the Council authorized my request to seek proposals for a new contract and administrator of our water main system. In the coming weeks and months, the City will be considering new proposals for an administrator and contract that will provide much more substantial investments in replacing our old water mains on a regular basis.

I am 100% committed to improving Hoboken’s aging infrastructure, and that starts with our water main system. I look forward to moving this process forward in the coming weeks and months.

I also wanted to repost these two important questions sent out yesterday via our Nixle system on the investments we’ve made in our water main infrastructure, and why it’s important to have a new contract:

What has Hoboken been doing to address and invest in water main infrastructure? 

In the past two years, the City of Hoboken has taken matters into its own hands has invested millions in water main upgrades.  Specifically:

1.  In the 2018 budget for the City of Hoboken, my Administration included over $5 million in proactive water main upgrades and replacement, after former Mayor Dawn Zimmer allocated the same amount in 2017. This funding will allow for the replacement of 2.5 miles of water mains.

2.  As a part of the Washington Street Project, Hoboken invested over $7 million to replace the century year old water mains along our main street (pictured below).

3.  City professionals have identified 67 priority areas where  water mains are older and more prone to breaks. This framework will allow the City to efficiently target and replace the most vulnerable water mains beginning this fall.

Over the next three budget cycles, I am committed to including multi-million dollar investments for funding water main upgrades, which would replace several miles of outdated water mains throughout the City.

Why is it important to have a new contract?

The contract which placed SUEZ (formerly United Water) as Hoboken’s water main operator was agreed upon by a prior administration over two decades ago in 1994. Unfortunately, this contract provided a large sum of money up front to plug previous budget shortfalls and not nearly enough in proactive water main upgrades on a yearly basis. According to the contract, only $350,000 is allocated for water main repairs, which doesn’t even cover the cost of emergency repairs, let alone any proactive water main replacement.

As always, please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns.

Thanks,

Ravi Bhalla