New Jersey American Water Announces Water Infrastructure Investment Program

(UC) — New Jersey American Water has announced a new program to accelerate capital investment in water and wastewater infrastructure. 

Cheryl Norton, President of New Jersey American Water announced the details of the program in testimony before the New Jersey Assembly Special Committee on Infrastructure and Natural Resources.

“What we are proposing is an acceleration in capital investment in water and wastewater infrastructure that can result in the improvement of those systems and the creation of thousands of jobs,” says Norton.

START contains several proposed components, which include:

Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Investment Program (WWIIP)

This is a new proposal for water and wastewater utilities in New Jersey (requiring legislative or regulatory approval) which would speed up capital investment in water and wastewater systems while sustaining and creating jobs, but its framework is not new to the water/wastewater industry.

Projects under WWIIP must be on nonrevenue producing assets and must fall into certain categories like existing Distribution System Improvement Charge (DSIC) eligible projects, replacement of plant items, water main cleaning and lining, distribution, production, and other infrastructure for the purpose of safety, water quality, resiliency, and environmental compliance.

WWIIP could generate between $100 million to $150 million in new capital investments and the creation of 1,500 to 2,000 jobs.

Distribution System Improvement Charge (DSIC) Expansion

There currently is a 5 percent cap on what New Jersey American Water can recover under DSIC. New Jersey American Water is proposing to raise that cap to 10 percent. By raising that cap and allowing DSIC to apply to above ground assets, an additional $50 million to $75 million in annual capital investment could be generated. That investment would sustain or create over 500 jobs.

DSIC expansion is contingent on the result of the WWIIP proposal. If WWIIP is approved, this proposed DSIC expansion would no longer be necessary.

Develop A New Workforce Employment Initiative (Apprentice Program)

The water industry over the next five years faces an employee work shortage as “new” employees into the water industry are not evolving. It is difficult to obtain water/wastewater treatment licenses, generally taking up to 10 years. Many people, especially young adults, do not know about the well-paying jobs that are attainable in the water industry.

New Jersey American Water wants to develop an apprentice program to help address this issue. We are working with the Governor’s Office/Department of Labor and the NJ Vocational-Technical Schools Association to develop such an initiative and will be announcing further details in the near future.


New Jersey American Water envisions START as part of New Jersey’s economic recovery from COVID-19, putting people to work while also continuing to provide hundreds of thousands of New Jerseyans with safe and reliable water and wastewater services so they don’t have to worry about adding it to their list of current concerns.

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