The Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission was damaged during Hurricane Sandy, suffering flooding and power outages. Now that facility is sending hundreds of millions of gallons a day of untreated wastewater and storm water into the Newark Bay.
As reported by the Associated Press, immediately after the storm, the PVSC was sending about 500 million gallons a day into the bay, after some restoration of power, they have reduced that to around 250 million gallons.
The Middlesex County Utility Authority’s is also pumping about 66 million gallons per day of untreated wastewater into the Raritan River. The MCUA facility was not damaged in the storm, but pumping facilities in Edison and Sayreville which feed the plant were. Middlesex County was under a boil water alert, but that has been lifted as of November 7, and you can read the specifics here.
Cities and towns served by the PVSC have been issued a “reduce water advisory”, which you can read in full here. Wondering if your town is affected? Here is the list of towns: Bayonne, Belleville, Bloomfield, Cedar Grove, Clifton, East Newark, East Orange, East Rutherford, Elizabeth, Elmwood Park, Fair Lawn, Franklin Lakes, Garfield, Glen Ridge, Glen Rock, Hackensack, Haledon, Harrison, Hasbrouck Heights, Hawthorne, Hillside, Jersey City, Kearny, Little Falls, Lodi, Lyndhurst, Montclair, Newark, North Arlington, North Bergen, North Caldwell, North Haledon, Nutley, Orange, Passaic, Paterson, Prospect Park, Ridgewood, Rutherford, Saddle Brook, South Hackensack, South Orange, Totowa, Union City, Wallington, West Orange, Woodland Park and Wood-Ridge.
This means, among other things, that residents should take shorter showers, and yes, flush less often. The DEP has been monitoring drinking water in these areas and so far has encountered no problems.