DEP Fines Ridgewood Water for Exceeding Allocation

Ridgewood used 60 million more gallons than allowed in 2010 — and even greater number in 2011 — and will face penalties of at least $38,000, the DEP said

Ridgewood Water is being fined nearly $40,000 by the state for exceeding their water allocation in 2010, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection told Patch Friday.

According to DEP spokesman Bob Considine, the utility company exceeded its 344.4 million gallon allocation in 2010 by 60.13 million gallons and as a result is facing a $38,000 penalty.

Ridgewood Water has reportedly appealed the ruling, but another fine is right around the corner for the village. 

"In 2011, Ridgewood [Water] went over its allocation by 10 million gallons more than it did in 2010. A fine for 2011 has not been determined yet," Considine said.

The DEP determines the water allocation based on the population, amount of homes and businesses served, and the coverage area of the utility.

Officials for Ridgewood Water — which serves Wyckoff, Glen Rock, Midland Park and Ridgewood — did not respond to a request for comment on Friday.

"Water conservation is a fact of life and it is also the law," Ridgewood Water says on its website. "The State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection requires that each community maintain a water conservation program."

Considine said the DEP in 2010 held a meeting with Ridgewood Water officials to discuss a modification plan that was deemed "grossly deficient," but the utility officials never responded to the state.

"The past [overage] of annual allocation on two permits was discussed at that time, as was the township's very high per capita use and unaccounted for water," the DEP spokesman said.

The village is facing a number of financial hurdles in the future including a . Patch also recently .

Further, while the DEP says Ridgewood Water is a repeat offender, it's not the only water utility to be found in violation of exceeding its water allocation levels.

Neighbor Ho-Ho-Kus Water was issued penalties in 2010 and expects further fines for 2011 usage.

"While they are not the norm, they do happen," Considine said of utilities exceeding allocations. "They are more common in drought years."

Ridgewood Water advises residents of water restrictions based on a four-stage scale: Stage 1 water restrictions start on May 1 and, depending on weather conditions, significantly limit the amount of water ratepayers can use.

Stage 2 restrictions limit irrigation to alternate days and specify that only handheld hoses can be used Tuesday through Sunday.

Stage 3 restrictions limit the use of manual sprinklers to short windows of time, and Stage 4 restrictions — usually prompted by drought — outright ban irrigation unless specifically allowed by the Ridgewood village manager.

Although the restrictions may be in place, officials and residents have said enforcement is limited.

Have a question or news tip? Contact editor James Kleimann at James.Kleimann@patch.com, or find us on Facebook and Twitter. For news straight to your inbox every morning, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Boyd A. Loving June 30, 2012 at 01:03 PM
Notification to subscribers of Stage 1 Restrictions is simply a complete joke. NO snail mail, NO reverse 911, NO e-mail, NO press release, NO posting on the VOR website's main page, NO Tweet, NO text, NO Facebook updates; NOTHING but an obscure post buried within Ridgewood Water's webpage. If Ridgewood Water was serious about complying with NJDEP rules, they'd do a much better job of communicating with their subscribers.
News Man June 30, 2012 at 01:03 PM
Perfect for today's 100 degree weather. If .."The DEP requires that each community maintain a water conservation program", How does the Village justify the running of two artesion wells to maintain a fulll Graydon Pool? How is that measured and is it chargeable to the Village and to others? Are there alternative solutions to that problem?
Boyd A. Loving June 30, 2012 at 01:09 PM
Dom: Are you suggesting we close Graydon, or truck in water from a private source?
News Man June 30, 2012 at 01:23 PM
Boyd, I charge extra for my advice now. Your off the cuff thought adds nothing, sorry. Perhaps, the users of Graydon should "Pay" for that extra cost and is that something to consider? Still cool, more heat is on the way.
Boyd A. Loving June 30, 2012 at 01:25 PM
So you're suggesting water continue to be pumped in, but a "surcharge" of some sort be collected from users. Okay; at least we know now what you were getting at.
Mark McCullough June 30, 2012 at 03:13 PM
This is an organization desperately in need of professional management.
jp1 July 02, 2012 at 02:33 PM
Ridgewood water is not the only company being fined. If the town gave out a summons to people when there is water restrictions then just maybe the towns would not be fined.
Marcia Ringel July 02, 2012 at 05:03 PM
Hi, Boyd. Check out the blue-tinted box for May 1 of the Village calendar! I'm sure everybody made careful note of that. Water restrictions were previously announced to residents based on weather and water conditions. I remember getting a piece of paper in my mailbox. Now entering stage 1 is predetermined every May 1 to the extent that it's published on a calendar printed six months earlier. My heart sank the first time I noticed that (at least a year ago).
News Man July 02, 2012 at 05:40 PM
Handing out summons doesn't solve the problem alone. My tomato plants are four feet high now and loaded with tomatos that will be ready for picking by July 4th, as usual. Posting successful water saving gardening ideas can help. Perhaps, getting permission to strike your own well could help. Sharing with like minded guys and gals only. Editors are on their own sorry. Have fun.
Boyd A. Loving July 02, 2012 at 07:02 PM
Hi Marcia: Yes; I am aware of the "blue tinted" box for May 1st. Unfortunately, the hard copy VOR calendar is not distributed to Ridgewood Water subscribers outside of Ridgewood (Glen Rock, Midland Park, and Wyckoff). Also, how many calendar recipients actually post the calendar prominently and/or refer to it on a daily basis? Judging from the number of people in my neighborhood who are not adhering to the rules of Stage 1, my guess is very, very few. Boyd


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