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Funding has been approved to protect New Jersey American Water's largest water treatment plant from flooding.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has authorized $31.5 million in state financing to raise the existing floodwall at the Raritan Millstone Water Treatment Plant to withstand even a "500-year" flood.
Five years ago, Hurricane Irene's flood waters came within an inch of breaching the plant's flood wall. That could have resulted in an estimated regional economic loss of more than $1.8 billion.
With the new financing, the floodwall will be raised by four feet.
New Jersey American Water, a subsidiary of American Water, said that the plant serves more than one million people in seven counties, provides water to five large public water systems and also serves as an emergency source of water for the cities of Newark and Trenton.
This funding is part of a $1.28 billion bill that will make financing available for improvements to drinking water and wastewater infrastructure projects across the state.
The legislation provides New Jersey American Water and others with a low-cost loan from the New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Trust, an independent state financing agency, in partnership with the Department of Environmental Protection.
Commenting on the legislation, Gov. Christie said: "There can be no compromises in protecting the viability, integrity and resiliency of the state's water-supply and wastewater systems, especially in areas that are vulnerable to floods."