Over the last few years, the Merchantville Pennsauken Water Commission (MPWC) has been planning, designing, and building a new water treatment plant at our Woodbine Avenue location. This plant is the first plant in the area to address both PFCs and 1,4 dioxane that you may have seen in the news recently. PFCs were recently added to the New Jersey State list of compounds water systems need to monitor. 1,4 dioxane is on the proposed list of compounds. The MPWC was proactive and built its first plant to address both the new and proposed regulations.
The plant uses state-of-the-art treatment processes. Advanced oxidation is used to break down compounds and then granular activated carbon completely removes them from the water supply.
While upgrading the plant, sound dampening panels were also added to the external equipment to minimize our impact to our neighbors. The adjacent water tower was also painted.
The Woodbine plant went online in April of 2022 after extensive start-up testing and water analysis. In July, the new plant was dedicated to long time Commissioner Patrick Brennan for all of his hard work, leadership and dedication to both the Borough and the MPWC.
This plant is currently producing the highest water quality in the system. The next plant to undergo this upgrade will be the National Highway plant. This plant is running with additional temporary treatment while we permit and construct the permanent treatment plant. MPWC continues to comply with all regulations even under construction and with the new limits. You may have seen on the news, not all utilities are doing as well with the new laws. These upgrades ensure we will meet new challenges and provide even better water quality to our customers.
The biggest challenge we face is funding the new plants to address regulations the State has implemented to reduce the levels of emerging contaminants in drinking water. MPWC is applying for grants and principal forgiveness loans that have been made available by the recent federal government infrastructure funding. With five treatment plants scattered around our towns, this is quite an undertaking and will take a few years to fully implement.
You also may have noticed the MPWC digging up the streets, lining and replacing water mains in the area of the Franklin School. We continued this project in 2022. We also addressed Derousse Avenue to allow for new business ventures in this area. Over 9,000 linear feet of water main was either lined with structural epoxy to bring the pipe back to its original condition or replaced. New valves were also installed. While the main was being addressed, temporary water was set up throughout the neighborhood. We did our best to not impact our customers and get in and out of the area as fast as possible.
Perhaps the most time-consuming project we currently have is the replacement of galvanized and lead services in our system. The State of New Jersey is requiring all lead and galvanized services to be removed over the next ten years. This new law requires that we determine what the customer’s material is made out of and develop a plan to remove any customer owned galvanized or lead service line. You may have seen our flyers or Facebook posts. If you have not already done so, please reach out and let us know if your service line is galvanized iron or copper. We need your help to identify every customer owned line in our system.
MPWC staff have a lot of work to do to stay ahead of the curve and continue to deliver the highest quality water. The dedicated men and women of the MPWC are up for the challenge.