RELEASE: Gottheimer Helps Break Ground on New North Jersey Water Treatment Facility — Made Possible by $2.8M Federal Investment Clawed Back to Jersey

Providing Clean, Forever Chemical-Free Water to Children and Families, 62,000 Across Ridgewood, Glen Rock, Midland Park, and Wyckoff

Aug 14, 2023
Press

Above: Gottheimer breaking ground for Ridgewood Water’s new water treatment facility.

RIDGEWOOD, NJ — Today, August 14, 2023, U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) joined with local leaders and water providers to celebrate the groundbreaking of a new water treatment facility — Ridgewood Water’s Ravine Treatment Plant. Ridgewood Water serves more than 62,000 residents across Ridgewood, Wyckoff, Midland Park, and Glen Rock.

Working closely with the mayors and councilmembers, Gottheimer successfully clawed $2.8 million back from the federal government to invest in this project which will provide clean water free of lead and PFAS, known as forever chemicals, to children and families in communities across Northern New Jersey. This federal investment will help lower the tax burden on families.  

Ridgewood Water has long been fighting back against polluters whose actions contaminated the surface and groundwater with forever chemicals. When they found evidence of forever chemicals in some of their 52 wells, they immediately took problematic wells offline. They installed temporary treatment technologies including filters, and bought water from outside facilities to help keep our residents safe. Purchasing outside water is more expensive and the new water treatment facility is a permanent solution to bring costs down. Ridgewood Water’s new facility will provide 500 gallons of treated water into the system per minute, nearly a million gallons a day, and will bring some of their inactive wells back online.

Effects of Forever Chemicals and Lead in Drinking Water:

  • Exposure to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), known as forever chemicals, has been linked to numerous adverse health effects, including cancers, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and impaired child development. 
  • Lead water can stunt a child’s development, cause learning disabilities and appetite loss, and can even lead to permanent damage to their vital organs and nervous systems.

Gottheimer also helped secure $1 billion for Jersey’s critical water infrastructure through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, which he helped craft and pass.

“I’m incredibly proud that by working closely with the Mayors and Councils here in Ridgewood, Glen Rock, Midland Park, and Wyckoff we’ve clawed  $2.8 million back from the federal government to Jersey to invest in this project which will provide clean water, free of lead and PFAS, known as forever chemicals, to children and families in communities across Northern New Jersey. This is about protecting our kids and our families. There is nothing partisan or political about this — it’s about fighting for what’s good for Jersey,” said Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5). “We were able to claw $2.8 million in the tax dollars we sent to Washington back to Jersey, to help invest in this new facility, and lower the tax burden on families. Today is a perfect example as to why it’s so important that we work nonstop to claw federal investments back to Jersey and away from the Moocher States.”

Gottheimer was joined by Village of Ridgewood Mayor Paul Vagianos, Midland Park Mayor Harry Shortway, Midland Park Councilwoman Lorraine Deluca, Wyckoff Committee Member  Rudolf Boonstra, Glen Rock Council Member Teresa Gilbreath, Midland Park Councilwoman Nancy Cronk Peet, Village of Ridgewood Manager Keith Kazmark, DEP Commissioner Shawn LaTourette, Ridgewood Water Director Richard Calbi Jr., EPA Region 2 Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor for Equity Olivia Glenn and Iron Workers Local No. 11 Business Agent Michael Kenny.

Video of today’s announcement can be found here.

Below: Gottheimer breaking ground for Ridgewood Water’s new water treatment facility.

Gottheimer’s remarks as prepared for delivery are below.

Good morning. I’m very excited to be here today, back in the Village, with so many of our local leaders and members of Ridgewood Water as we celebrate the groundbreaking of a new water treatment facility — the Ravine Treatment Plant! 

I also want to congratulate Ridgewood Water on more than 100 years of service to North Jersey families! Because of their hard work, thousands of households, 275 miles of pipeline, and more than 1,800 fire hydrants can be relied upon to keep us healthy and safe — that’s no small feat.

I’m incredibly proud that by working closely with the Mayors and Councils here in Ridgewood, Glen Rock, Midland Park, and Wyckoff we’ve clawed  $2.8 million back from the federal government to Jersey to invest in this project which will provide clean, lead and PFAS — known as forever chemicals — free-water to children and families in communities across Northern New Jersey. This is about protecting our kids and our families. There is nothing partisan or political about this — it’s about fighting for what’s good for Jersey.

That’s a huge win for the safety of Jersey families, for Ridgewood Water and Ridgewood, of course, and the towns it has served — Wyckoff, Midland Park, and Glen Rock. More than 62,000 people depended on this project for clean water, free of forever chemicals, including PFAS.

As you can see, work on the new facility is already underway, and should be done about eighteen months from now.

We know that exposure to forever chemicals like PFAS has been an issue for towns across the Fifth District and has been linked to numerous adverse health effects, including cancers, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and impaired child development. Lead can also be another major issue and can stunt a child’s development, cause learning disabilities and appetite loss, and can even lead to permanent damage to their vital organs and nervous systems. 

Ridgewood Water has long been fighting back against polluters whose actions contaminated our surface and groundwater with forever chemicals. When they found evidence of these forever chemicals in some of their 52 wells, they immediately took problematic wells offline.  

While we’re building a permanent solution, they installed temporary treatment technologies including filters, and bought water from outside facilities to help keep our residents safe.

But they needed a permanent fix — buying outside water is more expensive. But the town knew that building a new facility, like this one, would cost taxpayers millions of dollars, including hundreds a year more on their water bills. They needed help. Thankfully, the local mayors and councils went into action. They called me right away, and I went to work and fought for money in the federal budget. As I said, we were able to claw $2.8 million in the tax dollars we send to Washington back to Jersey, to help invest in this new facility, and lower the tax burden on families. 

Today is a perfect example as to why it’s so important that we work nonstop to claw federal investments back to Jersey and away from the Moocher States. 

So, as a publicly owned system, this will be a permanent fix that will help the community and Ridgewood Water meet water safety standards. Ridgewood Water’s state of the art facility will provide 500 gallons of treated water into the  system per minute, nearly a million gallons a day. It will also bring some of their inactive wells back online.

It’s because of the leaders alongside me that we were able to designate this project for federal investment. None of this would have been possible without the tireless work of the towns and boroughs. The mayors and council members care deeply about the families they serve. I’m proud to have them as partners in my fight to ensure that families and towns across North Jersey have clean drinking water for their children and families.  

Today’s groundbreaking also builds on my broader Clean Water Action Plan, which includes actions we’ve taken to help our towns, schools, and water treatment facilities remove dangerous lead and forever chemicals from our children’s drinking water and provide greater transparency to our families about drinking water in our schools. 

Ridgewood Water is only one stop in our fight for clean drinking water.

We already clawed back a $3.4 million federal investment from Washington to Fair Lawn for new and improved water treatment. We got $800,000 in federal investment for a new and improved filtration system in Mahwah.

And we landed a $100,000 federal investment clawed back from Washington to Sussex County to help fix critical water infrastructure for our children and families.

We also clawed back $3.4 million in federal investments for Park Ridge to improve their water treatment capabilities and address problematic wells.

The Bipartisan Infrastructure bill, which I helped craft and pass, invests $1 billion for critical New Jersey water infrastructure needs. 

Our water challenges didn’t happen overnight, and fixing them won’t either. But you can see that concrete action is being taken to help our North Jersey families. And there’s nothing partisan about this – there is no red or blue drinking water. 

To close, I want to thank everyone here today for the work they’ve done to make this project possible. If we work together across party lines and put our country first, here in the greatest country in the world, I know that our best days will always be ahead of us. 

Thank you all for your work. God bless you, and may God continue to bless the United States of America.

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