Police Warn Of Water Shortage

By on August 5, 2020

Yesterday, Tropical Storm Isaias dumped more than 1 1/2 inches of rain on our area during the morning and early afternoon. Last night, the Verona Police Department sent out an alert warning that there “may be” a water supply shortage because of the storm and that some residents could experience low water pressure. Early this morning, the VPD put Verona under water usage restrictions. “NO outdoor water use and please conserve water inside your home,” the 7 a.m. alert read. A follow-up alert at 7:39 a.m. said that Verona’s water is safe to drink.

Verona’s water supply is a combination of water produced from our own wells and water purchased and pumped from the Passaic Valley Water Commission (PVWC), and today’s shortage is being caused by a problem at the PVWC. 

According to Verona Township Manager Matthew Cavallo, yesterday’s storm caused a PVWC pumping station outside Verona to lose power mid-afternoon yesterday and that power has not been restored. PVWC’s main pumping station is in Little Falls and it operates pumps at multiple locations in Essex and Passaic counties. Its three pumps in Verona are among the largest in its system, delivering between 2 million and 12 million gallons of water a day.  Cavallo said that PSEG has told PVWC that its power would be back on this afternoon.

In response, Verona has opened its interconnections with the water systems in Cedar Grove, Essex Fells and Montclair, but that will not solve all the problems because those systems are at a lower height than Verona’s and so are not able to support the same level of water pressure here. “We can meet our needs right now but we are asking residents to conserve,” Cavallo says.

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The outage happened as PVWC was nearing completion the installation of four large standby generators at its Union Boulevard plant in Little Falls. The utility said last year that the installation work, which began in 2018, would house the generators in a building designed to withstand a Category 5 hurricane.

Cavallo is currently assessing other storm damage in Verona. According to PSE&G’s outage map, about 100 Verona homes were without power as of 8:40 a.m.

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