Waterlines, May 2016

MPWCSliderThe MPWC, 90 Years of Quality Water at Affordable Rates

By Sean Fitzgerald, MPWC Treatment Technician

When the Merchantville–Pennsauken Water Commission (MPWC) came into existence by the decree of the New Jersey Supreme Court in January of 1926, the country was a much different place. The Great Depression had not yet brought the country to the brink. The Greatest Generation had not yet been called to defend the world during World War II. The Empire State Building hadn’t yet dominated the New York skyline. Prohibition was still in place. Women had only had the right to vote for six years. The first Super Bowl was still 41 years away.

They say the only constant in life is change. Yet, despite the numerous and monumental changes that have taken place across the globe over these last 90 years, some things have stayed the same. The MPWC has remained not just one of the most affordable water utilities in New Jersey, but also continues to offer the best quality water in the state, by not only being named as winner of the New Jersey American Water Works Association’s 2015 Best Tasting Water contest, but also by our constant excellent water quality reporting by third party labs.

AllSportBooster5-16ad-webAs prices continue to surge forward, whether it’s the cost of cable TV, medicine, milk, or gasoline, water has always been a relatively inexpensive resource. Time has begun to catch up with the water industry, however. The National Society of Civil Engineers has noted New Jersey has $7.9 billion in drinking water infrastructure needs over the next 20 years. The cost of water, especially for those served by privately run water companies, will have to be raised over the coming years in order to insure that the ability to provide clean water safely to customers is not compromised.

In light of all of this, the MPWC has stood as a model for how a water company can and should be run. At the current 2016 rate, an MPWC customer will pay $2.87 per 1,000 gallons, or approximately a quarter of one cent per gallon, placing us as one of the least expensive water utilities in the state of New Jersey. It’s not easy to find award winning product sold in this price range now-a-days.

Not every water utility can replace 3000 feet of main a year, maintain strict compliance from the numerous agencies overlooking us, including OSHA, the DEP, the EPA, and the IRS, fix every single main break using an in-house construction crew, and win awards for water quality and safety, all while maintaining a price that is almost completely unbeatable in New Jersey. Yet for the past 90 years, it has been an absolute privilege to do so.

Each night, the employees of the MPWC return to their homes in Pennsauken and Merchantville and turn on the tap, receiving the same water that we work to bring to our neighbors every day. For us, cost and quality are more than some abstract event that happens to a customer in some far off place. We expect that quality of ourselves for our families, our neighbors, and the businesses we frequent in our downtowns. We’re thankful that for the last 90 years, we’ve been fortunate to be the stewards of this proud tradition. We hope to continue that prized guardianship for the next 90 and beyond.

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