The East Orange Water Commission operated as the East Orange Water Department from 1903 to 1909. Through a referendum by a majority vote of the citizens of the City of East Orange, the East Orange Water Commission was created in 1909. Prior to 1999, the Commission operated as a semi-autonomous body of the City of East Orange under the jurisdiction of a three (3) member Commission, appointed by the Mayor. The commission membership was expanded in 1999 to a five (5) member board, nominated by the Mayor and confirmed by the City Council.
During the early 1900s, the city consisted of approximately 20,000 people, who needed potable water on a daily basis. It took five million gallons of water per day to supply a population of 20,000 on an un-metered system. By 1920, the Water Commission metered every service in the city, including domestic, commercial, fire and sprinkler systems. As a result, the commission has been able to serve the growing community with less water – from 90 gallons per person per day to 63 gallons per person per day.
Today, the commission serves over 65,000 residents in East Orange and it takes on average 11 million gallons of water per day (mgd) to satisfy the needs of the citizens.
To supply the residents of East Orange, the Commission derives its water supply from four well fields in the 2300 plus acre East Orange Water Reserve. The water is obtained from eighteen (18) wells supplied by the great Passaic Aquifer, created during the last Ice Age. The water is forced from the wells through conduits to the East Orange Pumping Station, where it is minimally treated and then pumped to an underground reservoir in Maplewood. From this reservoir, it flows via gravity into the distribution system and to the consumer’s house tap at which point it first sees the light of day.
The fact that the water is never exposed to daylight until it reaches the consumers premises accounts for its purity, coolness, and general excellent quality.