1921: Jersey City Under Commission Government
A Book of Achievement

Jersey City's Water Supply

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HE water used by the inhabitants of Jersey City and its customers comes from the Rockaway River. The watershed has an area of 121 1/2 square miles. Below the city of Boonton is the great clam and the large reservoir, which is, in fact, a large lake containing 7,300,000,000 gallons of water, which means about 143 days' supply for Jersey City. This reservoir is connected with Jersey City by means of tunnels, conduits and steel pipe, stretching for about 21 miles through the country. The tunnels through two mountains, the Watchung and Horseneck Mountain, as well as the conduits, have a diameter of 8 feet 2 inches.
The present system is capable of delivering to the city 50,000,000 gallons, and the city is consuming daily between 1,000,000 and 3,000,000 more than that. During the abnormal year of 1918, when the thermometer dropped below zero and stayed so during most of the winter, the city was consuming and wasting a large quantity of water beyond the capacity of its pipeline. This experience showed the necessity of an additional pipeline from Boonton to Jersey City, and the Commissioners contracted for a new pipeline with a capacity of 50,000,000 million gallons daily, at a cost of $4,800,000. The views of the work while under construction, which accompany this article, will show the magnitude and difficulty of this work.

On June 19, 1920, the contract for the new six-toot pipeline under the beds of the Hackensack and Passaic rivers was finished. The old and new pipelines at both rivers are connected by crossover pipes. On that date water was turned into the new submarine pipe, and it has been in constant operation from then to the present time. This removed the danger that the city had been under in case of a break in the single pipe which was supplying the city with water under those rivers. It might take a month or two to mend this single pipe under the river, if at any time it should break, and this would mean to Jersey City a water famine. With the completion of this duplicate pipeline Jersey City will be enabled to bring down all the water it needs for the present.

Providing for the Future.

In order to provide for the future and for the full supply that the watershed is capable of delivering to the city, it will be necessary to conserve the flood waters of the watershed by building another reservoir in the watershed. The city owns a large site in the Longwood Valley and there are lakes and ponds upon the watershed such as Green Pond, Silver Lake and numerous others besides Split Rock Pond, which is the largest, and can be acquired and deepened as the needs of the city require.

The City's Pure Water.

It has been the city's constant endeavor to keep the water of the city in a pure condition and so far it has succeeded admirably. Through numerous decrees of the court the city has prevented various sources of pollution in Dover, Rockaway and Hibernia, but these sources of pollution must ultimately be done away with completely. With this in view the City Commissioners have planned an intercepting sewer to take care of all dangerous sewage above the intake. The city of Dover has entered into a contract with Jersey City for the construction of such a sewer, but Rockaway, Hibernia and Boonton have refused, and these cities and Passaic, Paterson and the East Jersey Water Company have commenced a lawsuit to enjoin Jersey City from the construction of this sewer.

Jersey City Water Supply Images

The present system of purifying the waters that come from the Boonton dam is by means of chlorinization. The laboratory is maintained at the dam with a chemist in charge and another laboratory is at High Service, Summit Avenue, in the city, where further tests are made of the water as it is delivered in the city. Chemical analyses are also made and in this way close guard is kept daily over the purity of the water that the city receives.

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