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New Year's Eve Power Outage Damages Ridgewood Facility

Council expected to appropriate initial budget of $15,000 for repairs at water treatment plant.

Ridgewood Wastewater Treatment Plant / file photo
Ridgewood Wastewater Treatment Plant / file photo

The Ridgewood Council will consider an emergency appropriation of up to $15,000 following damage that occurred to the village’s water treatment due to a power outage New Year’s Eve.

About 40,000 in Bergen and Passaic counties lost power early that evening due to a failure at PSE&G’s Fair Lawn switching station.

Electricity was restored about an hour later, “just in time to avoid bypassing untreated sewage into our local bodies of water,” Chris Rutishauser, the village engineer, wrote in a memo Jan. 2.

A backup generator had failed at the plant, Rutishauser told council members Wednesday night. When questioned, he said the generator, installed at the plant permanently in 2004, is tested monthly but that the tests are subject to weather and regulatory constraints.

Extra personnel had been called in to manage the incoming flow to the offline plant that night, and a private electrician began work repairing the damage the following day, Rutishauser said. 

The ongoing work includes inspections of each component of the system – including motors, fans and pumps – and repairs as needed.

“The power outage caused significant upset in our electrical systems,” Rutishauser said. “We’re still not back 100 percent at full operational ability.”

In addition to parts, the costs associated with the work are being billed hourly, but officials were hopeful it could be completed below an initial budget of $15,000.

“A definitive cost for the repairs is unknown at this time,” Rutishauser wrote in his request.
jp1 January 10, 2014 at 07:58 AM
Why not bill PSE&G for being incompetent?
westwood kid January 10, 2014 at 08:54 AM
in a town as big as ridgewood they should have a back up plan for this type of thing. if the town called a generator company they could have responded in about 30 minutes and got the generator back on line. for a generator that is only 9 years old i find it hard to belive that it failed and they are not covering up something else.
Ridgewood Mom January 10, 2014 at 10:00 AM
Since those ridiculous polls are not improving service at all, which was the reason stated for necessitating their imposition against the will of residents, maybe we should remove them now. It being abundantly clear that the idea was a lie and all.
JAFO January 10, 2014 at 11:56 AM
You're so negative Mom. Perhaps those ridiculous polls are the reason the outage was only 1 hour. Although you and I both know that the poles have nothing to do with this issue.
The Fly January 10, 2014 at 12:07 PM
The employee directly responsible for not ensuring that the generator was tested regularly should be disciplined or terminated.
Ridgewood Mom January 10, 2014 at 12:23 PM
My point was not that the poles had something to do with the issue JAFO. My point is that they didn't help the power outage issues, which was the reason PSE&G gave for putting them up.
Phil Brooks January 10, 2014 at 02:41 PM
The Fly, I have a generator. Granted that it's far smaller than what's at the treatment plant. But it's a whole house model, nonetheless. And it gets tested automatically and weekly with no regard as to the weather. And it came through with flying colors in this outage. // So, only a monthly test that may not be done due to either weather or regulatory constraints? Nah, I don't buy it. I call "BS." // So, Fly, it's not one employee. Find 'em all who think that once a month testing is OK and that you can put the kibosh on it for weather and whomever designed and implemented whatever regulatory constraints there are that wouldn't allow someone to test a backup generator.

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