Jersey City receives its potable water from the Rockaway River, a tributary of the Passaic River. The Rockaway River flows through the town of Boonton, NJ, where it is impounded at the Boonton Reservoir Dam, which the city completed construction on in 1904. Jersey City used to receive its water from the Passaic River, however the increase in industrial construction in the late 19th century left the river very polluted. Jersey City was the first city in the country to treat its water with chlorine; this significantly improved the quality of the water and immediately lowered the number of deaths due to typhoid fever. Jersey City’s water is currently treated and managed by SUEZ (formerly United Water) at the Jersey City Water Treatment plant in Boonton, before traveling through 23 miles of pipes to Jersey City.
Jersey City’s wastewater is piped under the Hackensack River to Newark where it is treated by the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission (PVSC) at the Newark Bay Treatment Plant. The water is cleaned and then released into the New York Harbor.