“If you see something, say something” is the slogan of a government campaign, originally deployed by the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority, to encourage citizens to report potential terrorist activity to the authorities before something catastrophic happens.
The “major infrastructure failure” at New Jersey American Water Company’s Swimming River water treatment plant last week that resulted in no water for thousands of Monmouth County residents, a boiling water advisory for hundreds thousand of residents, and that will likely result in dead gardens, empty pools and dirty cars for the rest of the summer is an unfortunate lesson that we need to “say something” when our public utility companies are apparently putting our health at risk.
NJAWC admitted to the
Asbury Park Press that the 40 year old water mains that broke on Friday have been a problem since Tropical Strom Irene last August. It wasn’t long before the news of the water main breaks hit on Friday that commenters on this site and others said they saw this coming since Irene.
Freeholder Director John Curley told app, “Anybody that ever rode past that walkway could tell you that it looked like it was going to fall down. I’m surprised it didn’t collapse sooner.”
Tinton Falls Mayor Michael Skudera told app that the bridge holding the water mains appeared to be damaged following Irene but that he took NJAWC’s assurances that its integrity was not compromised.
NJAWC’s spokesperson told the app that the company was preparing to repair the bridge and reinforce the pipe before they failed.
We’re very fortunate that the bridge and the pipes didn’t fail during Irene. That would have added mightily to the suffering many lived through last August and September. We’ve become accustomed to excellent service from our water utility. Due to that excellent service, we gave them the benefit of the doubt as we drove past the damaged bridge.
NJAWC’s response to this failure has been excellent. For that we should be grateful.
Hindsight is 20-20 and NJAWC’s luck ran out before this failure occurred. One of the lessons we should all learn is to say something when a potential problem that is apparently so obvious as this one is not being handled appropriately.