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Following water main breaks, Jersey City mayor gives United Water 'below average' grade

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Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop at an event earlier this year
Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop at an event earlier this year - (Andrew George / NJBIZ)

Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop isn't pleased with the service his city is being provided with from United Water New Jersey.

The company, which provides service to over 800,000 people across several North Jersey counties, spent much of Wednesday and early Thursday working to repair five different water main breaks in Jersey City alone over the two-day period.

As of 2 p.m. Thursday, a boil-water effect was still in-place for much of the city's downtown area as a result of the breaks.

Asked to give an assessment of United Water's performance as the city's service provider since he took office in July, Fulop said he was less than satisfied.

"As of today, I'd give them below average," Fulop said.

Once all service is restored and the current issues are resolved, Fulop said the city will investigate the matter and determine "if the city needs to explore other directions" in regards to its ongoing dealings with United Water.

But Fulop wouldn't go as far in his criticism of the company as city councilman Richard Boggiano, who told the Jersey Journal following the breaks that United Water "should get out of Jersey City."

Boggiano also told the paper that he believes the city's Municipal Utilities Authority should take control of the city's water, adding that he thought things were better before the company came to Jersey City.

Fulop today called Boggiano's comment "ignorant," adding that anyone who thinks the city can just terminate its contract with United Water "obviously doesn't understand the nuances of the system."

"It's not something that we could just get out of," Fulop said.

United Water spokesperson Steven Goudsmith said Thursday morning that at the time, the company's only concern was restoring service to those still without water.

"Our focus has always been to restore service to the people of Jersey City as quickly as possible," Goudsmith said. "That's what they deserve and that's why we've been working around the clock to make repairs."

As for any negative comments coming from city officials, Goudsmith said the company would be willing to meet with them and assess their performance.

"After repairs have been made, we'd be happy to sit down with officials and discuss the work that we've done," Goudsmith said.

Fulop said he'd be very supportive of a sit-down meeting with United Water and added that he's hoping to see better results from the company.

"There's plenty of time for United Water to improve upon (its) performance," Fulop said.




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Andrew George

Andrew George

Andrew George covers the Statehouse from NJBIZ's Trenton bureau. Born and raised in N.J., Andrew has also spent time as a reporter in D.C., Texas and Pa. His email is andrewg@njbiz.com and he is @AndrGeorge on Twitter.

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