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Trenton shouldn’t rule out getting help for TWW

In a letter to the editor of the Trentonian, Robert Powelson, NAWC president and CEO, highlights water companies’ strong record of delivering the highest quality drinking water to communities across New Jersey. Powelson cites findings from multiple studies, including one from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and encourages city leaders to work with a water company to fix Trenton’s serious water woes.

As Trenton grapples with its water future, it’s a mistake to rule out a role for one of America’s water companies.

Trenton Water Works (TWW) let the city down and has not delivered the clean, safe water residents deserve. TWW has been publicly owned and operated for 160 years. TWW was publicly owned and operated when drinking water was purple, when the city violated the EPA Lead and Copper rule and when it was losing seven million gallons of drinking water each day.

Many New Jersey municipalities have wisely chosen water companies to run their water systems, because of their long-proven record of delivering exceptional drinking water. Multiple studies, including the most recent one in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, show systems run by water companies deliver higher quality water than systems run by municipal governments. The data shows that New Jersey water systems owned and operated by the private sector are 60% less likely to have a drinking water quality violation.

Water companies have one job, and they do it expertly and efficiently – delivering safe, reliable water. In government-run water systems, this responsibility falls to elected officials who may have minimal water system expertise and many competing budgetary and policy priorities. In fact, the lack of technical and managerial capacity among elected officials running water systems has come up in countless hearings held by the New Jersey legislature. In September, a State Senate Committee convened hearings to discuss the importance of water quality accountability and other water infrastructure challenges facing the Garden State.

Given their strong record of expertise and water quality, it’s not surprising many communities across New Jersey have decided their best option is working with a water company. Trenton’s leaders would be wise to follow suit to ensure safe drinking water for residents.

— Robert Powelson, president and CEO of the National Association of Water Companies (NAWC)

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