NJDEP Requests NJ Attorney General To File Legal Action Against Trenton For Failure To Comply With Safe Drinking Water Act

Trenton Water supplies 217,000 people in Trenton, Ewing, Hamilton, Hopewell and Lawrence Townships.

May 22, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Hamilton Mayor Jeff Martin released a statement today about NJ Department of Environmental Protection taking legal action against the City of Trenton.

Trenton Water Works provides water for a significant portion of Hamilton Township.

“I applaud DEP for its leadership in ensuring safe and clean drinking water for all of Trenton Water Works’ customers. Legal action is a necessary but unfortunate step to take. We will join, and work with, DEP in its legal action and will not stop fighting until we are satisfied that all necessary steps are taken.” Hamilton Township Mayor Martin Said.

Full letter from NJ DEP Commissioner below.

MidJersey.News has reached out to Trenton Mayor W. Reed Gusciora’s office for comment but has not received a reply at the time of this publishing. Once we receive a reply we will update it here.


Dear Mayor and Council President,

As you know, for over the past two years, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has been working both to press for and to support the City of Trenton’s efforts to meet its obligations under the Safe Drinking Water Act and two 2018 DEP Administrative Consent Orders (ACOs) requiring, among other things, improvements to the operations of Trenton Water Works (TWW), replacement of lead service lines, and renovating Trenton’s uncovered reservoir to prevent contamination of the drinking water supply.

At the time of my last letter to you dated February 20, 2020 (attached), DEP was encouraged by the City’s recent progress in meeting its obligations, and by the Mayor’s proposed capital improvement plan and rate ordinance changes needed to support those improvements. And, as I shared in February, DEP is pleased to offer more state water infrastructure funding to support the City’s efforts, adding to the state funds we previously provided to the City.

I was deeply disappointed to learn that, on May 7, 2020, the City Council inexplicably rejected funding for crucial measures necessary to enable TWW to come into and maintain compliance. To be clear, the Council’s inexplicable failure to adopt these measures will prevent TWW from meeting critically overdue legal requirements of the ACOs and the Safe Drinking Water Act.

These requirements are necessary to ensure a safe and reliable water supply, not only for the City of Trenton, but also for the 217,000 people served by TWW in Ewing, Hamilton, Hopewell and Lawrence Townships.

The Council’s unreasonable action has left DEP no choice but to seek judicial intervention to help ensure that the City will comply with the requirements of the ACOs and the Safe Drinking Water Act. Regrettably, DEP has requested that the Attorney General take appropriate action before the courts.

Ensuring safe and reliable drinking water is a critical public health priority, and it is imperative that the City’s recent progress toward meeting its obligations not be lost. While DEP must now take the unfortunate step of seeking judicial intervention, we also recognize that Mayor Gusciora
has proposed appropriate actions to enable TWW to make the necessary improvements to its water supply system. The City Council’s refusal to provide the necessary financial support to achieve these legally required public health obligations simply leaves us no other choice.

DEP will, of course, continue to provide TWW with technical compliance assistance, as we do for all water systems. And, I invite you to contact me directly if you would like to discuss these matters.

Catherine R. McCabe NJDEP, Commissioner



The following is a statement from Hamilton Township Mayor Jeff Martin:

“I applaud DEP for its leadership in ensuring safe and clean drinking water for all of Trenton Water Works’ customers. Legal action is a necessary but unfortunate step to take. We will join, and work with, DEP in its legal action and will not stop fighting until we are satisfied that all necessary steps are taken.”


Letter sent to Trenton Mayor and Council President from Catherine R. McCabe NJDEP, Commissioner planing legal action.


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s