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.
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