Dilemma of Perth Amboy’s Water Department

Dilemma of Perth Amboy’s Water Department

The unexpected signing of the armistice in November has resulted disastrously for the Perth Amboy, N. J., water department so far as contracts made with the government to supply from two to three and a half million gallons a day to the Colonia base hospital and the Camp Raritan arsenal have not been fulfilled and the water department, after spending more than $50,000 on improvements and extensions so as to be able to furnish the two government projects with this enormous amount of water, are losing from $150 to $250 a day in water rents. As a result of the conditions the board has decided to go to Camp Raritan at Bonhamtown and determine from the officers there if that camp is going to live up to the contract. The matter will then be taken up with the proper officials at Washington.

No alternative was given the water board last August, when the commissioners were notified without any warning by government army officials that the Perth Amboy plant would have to furnish the Colonia base hospital and Camp Raritan with water which, according to statements issued then, would be two million gallons a dav at first, increasing to probably three and a half million. The commissioners informed the government officials that in order to meet this demand extensions to the present svstem would have to be made, which would cost more than $50,000, according to the Perth Amboy News.

It was finally decided that the board should go ahead with the extension work, the government promising to pay $20,000 in advance as a part of the water bills, which would be charged against it. this amount to help defray improvement expenses. Following several meetings and conferences between the water committee of the Board of Aldermen and the Water Board as a whole, permission was secured to have a bond issue of $60,000 floated for the necessary improvements, including a new gas engine and equipment costing $14,000, and a new pump costing $3,042 to be placed at Runyon. The matter of rates then came up. The water commissioners wished to charge the government the same price charged other large plants, which is $90 a million gallons. The government would not consent to this and finally placed $70 per million gallons as the price which it would pay. The water commissioners had no choice in the matter, as the government officials threatened to take over the entire plant if the board refused this offer. After all of these arrangements for increasing the supply had been made and the city began to increase its supply, the armistice was signed, extensions at the hospital and the arsenal automatically stopped and they delayed the time when they would start to consume water furnished by this city. The government agreed to lay the necessary pipe from Mattano Place to connect with Middlesex Water Company pipes. In order to secure the necessary pressure it was found necessary to place a pumping station near Valentines, between Metuchen and this city.

Although the government agreed to pay the Perth Amboy Board of Water Commissioners $20,000 in advance in order to assist in the extension work necessary, it has failed to keep its promise and the Water Board is now going to carry on an investigation both at Camp Raritan and through the proper channels in Washington to get that money and have the government live up to its contract to buy water from the city. The sale of two million gallons a day to the government would mean a daily income of $140 and this would greatly boost the water department’s fund.

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