ISELIN, N.J. — Middlesex Water Company announced that a $4.0 million project to clean and line water mains and replace valves, fire hydrants and water service lines has begun in South Amboy, N.J., as part of its annual RENEW program. The company also plans to upsize some smaller mains, as needed, to increase pressure and flows in the area.

The company plans to clean and line a total of 11,500 linear feet of 6-inch and 8-inch water main. The project also includes replacing approximately 9,000 linear feet of 4-inch water main with a new 8-inch water main. Middlesex Water upgraded a portion of the City of South Amboy in 2011 and this work is a continuation of a planned upgrade to the City’s water distribution system. The area selected for this investment includes water mains in the area roughly bounded by Augusta Street, Pupek Road, North Feltus and Lower Main Street in South Amboy.

Work has already begun on the replacement of the 4-inch main. The overall project is expected to be completed by the fall. Individual streets in the project area are expected to be affected for a period of two to three months.

"Aging water and wastewater infrastructure is an issue across the country with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency placing the cost of repairing, replacing and upgrading the nation’s water and wastewater infrastructure at more than $600 billion over the next 20 years. Middlesex Water is doing its part locally to maintain service reliability by annually upgrading portions of its 730-mile system," said Richard M. Risoldi, Middlesex Water Chief Operating Officer. "We plan to replace some 475 water service lines along with 31 hydrant assemblies in our 2013 RENEW effort. This translates into less lost water through leaks for our system, and enhanced water quality and pressures for our customers."

According to Risoldi, maintaining water infrastructure is very capital intensive. Rehabilitation such as the cleaning and lining of mains, rather than more costly replacement, is often the most viable solution helping to restore the original useful life of older pipe while maintaining operating costs.

Middlesex Water accesses state revolving funds offered through the New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Trust to help fund the project.

In the RENEW Program, to ensure uninterrupted water service to customers, Middlesex Water crews erect and install a temporary above-ground water service including hydrants and service connections while the water mains underground are being cleaned and lined. The cleaning process removes harmless mineral deposits that have accumulated in older sections of cast iron pipe. After the pipe is cleaned, a new cement lining is installed.