South Orange, Newark File Suit Against East Orange Water Commission
Suit claims EOWC exceeds water diversion, unauthorized interconnection opening
The ongoing battle between South Orange and East Orange Water Commission (EOWC) came to a head this week as a much anticipated lawsuit was filed against the independent commission on behalf of the township and the City of Newark. Following a public forum on the water issues, Village Counsel Steven C. Rother and partner Robert A. Goodsell spoke to the crowd in Village Hall about the recent lawsuit developments.
“We got a copy of a letter from the City of Newark that was directed to East Orange Water Commission,” said Rother. “It addressed the failure to have a contract and the unauthorized opening of the Holland Road connection.”
The Holland Road Interconnection is primarily used when there is a water shortage from South Orange. It is owned by Newark and when opened, a payment from EOWC is required. EOWC neglected to neither inform Newark of the opening nor pay for it.
Newark threatened to shut of the Holland Road interconnection and then shut off the LaFrance Avenue interconnection. This would have left East Orange and South Orange to share an inadequate amount of water.
“The Newark officials were very sympathetic, and we were sympathetic with them because obviously they have not been treated in a way that one would expect East Orange to treat Newark in supplying the water,” said Rother. “Bottom line, what we did was, we have agreed to jointly, Newark and South Orange, bring an action against East Orange Water Commission.”