The inaugural New Jersey One Water Awards, sponsored jointly by Jersey Water Works, the Association of Environmental Authorities of New Jersey, and the New Jersey chapter of the American Water Works Association, have been awarded to four projects that highlight innovative best practices in management across the full water cycle. The awards were developed to honor initiatives that exemplify the principles of the One Water approach: the belief that all water- stormwater, drinking water, wastewater- has value that can be unlocked by implementing sustainable, inclusive, and integrated water resource management practices.
“It was terrific to see so many innovative things happening in New Jersey that are using the One Water approach to upgrading our water infrastructure,” said Jennifer Brunton, director of environmental services at Louis Berger, a member of the Jersey Water Works Steering Committee and the chairwoman of the One Water Awards jury. “We hope these first awards will shine a spotlight on initiatives that exemplify integration across the water cycle and with other community priorities, reflect collaboration, employ innovation and education, and advance long-term sustainability. We want these winners to serve as an example so that we can encourage more such innovation.”
- The City of Hoboken’s Southwest Park, one of two winners in this category. Southwest Park is the first resiliency park in New Jersey, a one-acre area that incorporates significant stormwater management mechanisms to help control chronic flooding. The City received public input on three occasions on the park’s design and features, and the park’s interpretive signage provides educational opportunities to visitors.
- The Landis Sewerage Authority in Vineland, the other winner in this category. As part of the authority’s operating practices, it returns treated wastewater to the ground for aquifer recharge; draws power in part from renewable sources and from co-generation; and fertilizes its 400-acre farm using biosolid byproducts from the co-generation process. The Authority partnered extensively with community and environmental groups and its programs include many opportunities for public education.
- Middlesex Water Company, for its assessment/repair of a 30-inch transmission main under a major highway using internal application of carbon fiber-reinforced polymer, the first time this rehabilitative technique has been used by a water utility in New Jersey. The Company hosted an information session and invited neighboring utilities, construction and engineering firms for an onsite visit to demonstrate this unique rehabilitation method and to see the application of the unique polymer product for themselves.
- The Stony Brook Millstone Watershed Association, for its construction of an innovative wetland wastewater treatment system to replace an earlier failed septic system at its Watershed Center in Hopewell Township. The Association’s project promotes public education through interpretive signage and an audio tour to explain the wetland to visitors.
“We were extremely impressed with the quality and thoughtfulness of the entries,” said Peggy Gallos, the executive director of the Association of Environmental Authorities of New Jersey, who served as a juror for the contest and whose organization is one of the awards programs’ co-sponsors. “It’s clear that people across the water sector are thinking more innovatively and more holistically than ever before about how to treat water at every stage of its cycle as the precious resource it is. That can only bring benefit to the residents and businesses of New Jersey.”
“In addition to these being outstanding examples that any municipality or utility can emulate, these winning projects had one more thing in common that made them successful: significant efforts at public outreach and education,” said Nicole Wiley, who also served as a juror and who chairs the New Jersey section of the American Water Works Association, another co-sponsor of the awards program. “We all know water infrastructure is invisible until it breaks. Whether with tours or interpretive signage or direct communication with stakeholders, those who led these projects all worked hard to be sure the work was visible and its value understood by those who will benefit from it.”
- Carol Collier, Senior Advisor, Watershed Management and Policy, Academy of Natural Sciences, Drexel University
- Virginia Michelin, Principal Environmental Planner, Morris County Dept. of Planning & Public Works
- Charles Norkis, Executive Director (retired), Cape May County Municipal Utilities Authority
- Bernadette Sohler, Vice President of Corporate Affairs, Middlesex Water Company
Jurors are asked to recuse themselves from deliberation of any entry that presents a conflict of interest.