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Early History

The Southeast Morris County Municipal Utilities Authority (Authority) acquired the water supply system from the Town of Morristown on January 20, 1977. Morristown purchased the forerunner of the present water supply system from the Morris Aqueduct Company in December 1923 and had operated, maintained, improved and expanded it extensively during the period from that date.

The initial facilities of the Morris Aqueduct Company consisted of a "fountain" on the Morristown square and a water main to serve a few houses and a distillery. Under its Charter of 1798, the Company had certain rights, including the right of eminent domain, which allowed it to take water from watersheds in the direction of Basking Ridge (southwestwardly of Morristown) and in the direction of Whippany (northeastwardly of Morristown).

When water consumption approached the supply available from the "fountain" and other sources within Morristown, the Company developed the Jockey Hollow Reservoir and a water main was laid to convey water from this source to the Town's distribution system.

In the late 1800's, rapidly increasing demands for water were met by the development of supplies known as Jones Woods, Bailey Hollow, Sand Spring, East Primrose and West Primrose - all located southwestwardly of, and at successively greater distances from Morristown. Water mains were constructed connecting these supplies to the Town of Morristown.

Early in this century, the Company developed the Littleton supply, northeastwardly of Morristown, and provided water for domestic use and fire protection to new customers in this direction. Also at this time, plans were formulated and some land was acquired for the development of a reservoir in Mendham Township.

None of the sources used by the Morris Aqueduct Company exist as such today, although some of the modern facilities still bear their names. Wooden pipe, used for distributing water in the early days, and wood stave storage tanks have all been replaced with modern facilities.

After purchasing the Morris Aqueduct Company's facilities, Morristown implemented a series of improvements designed to satisfy ever-increasing demands, primarily in areas outside of the Town, and to insure a safe, adequate and proper water supply for all customers.

In the period from 1924 to 1930, the Jockey Hollow Reservoir was reconstructed and enlarged; the Littleton Wells were drilled and developed; additional lands were purchased in Mendham Township and construction of the planned reservoir, now known as Clyde Potts Reservoir, was started.

During the period of 1931 to 1940, Morristown purchased the facilities of the Normandy Water Company, completed the Clyde Potts Reservoir and its associated transmission facilities, converted the Jockey Hollow Reservoir into a distribution reservoir; constructed the Old Idlewild Tank and Shongum and Jockey Hollow booster stations; and installed new pumping equipment at the Jones Woods Booster Station.

Only essential maintenance and limited improvements, including lining the Jones Wood Tunnel with steel plate and drilling the Sand Spring Well, were undertaken during the World War II years. Following the war, in the period 1946 to 1960, many improvements were made and the system greatly expanded, primarily to serve new housing developments and industries in the area situated outside of Morristown. The Normandy, Wing and Todd Wells were drilled and developed; Malapardis, Mountain Way and Todd Booster Pumping Stations were constructed; the Jones Woods and Sand Spring pumping equipment was rehabilitated; treatment facilities were built at the Clyde Potts and Jockey Hollow Reservoirs; and the Bailey Hollow, Highland Woods, Horse Hill, Jockey Hollow Elevated, Jones Woods, New Idlewild and Rayonier water storage tanks were erected.

From 1961 through the date of transfer to the Authority on January 20, 1977, Morristown made many more improvements which were primarily for customers living outside of the Town's boundaries; these improvements included the Black Brook wells and treatment complex; Lidgerwood, Overlook, Shongum and Turnbull wells; Countrywood, Knollwood, Lake Valley Road and Summit Road booster pumping stations; chlorine treatment facilities at all supply sources; Easley and Jockey Hollow Storage Tanks and the Western Avenue office, shop and garage building.

Since the founding of the Morristown Water Department, when the length of mains were less than 70 miles, the transmission and distribution system has been extended to include more than 380 miles of mains. The number of services, meters and hydrants have increased proportionately with the length of transmission and distribution mains.

Since 1977, the Authority has increased available system storage by approximately 10.0 million gallons with the construction of the Picatinny, Jones Woods, Morris Plains and Baird Place Storage Tanks. Approximately 65,000 linear feet of large diameter mains have been installed connecting the various storage facilities and sources of supply. Three new booster pumping stations have been constructed at the Black Brook Treatment Plant, Jockey Hollow Reservoir and Picatinny Tanks to replace antiquated facilities and increase system reliability. A new pumping and filtration plant was constructed at the Clyde Potts Reservoir in Mendham Township upgrading the quality of this source and increasing the system pressure within this portion of the service area. Additional well sources of supply were added including the purchase and rehabilitation of the Greystone wells, and construction of the McCabe Well and treatment plant. The Authority now has three interconnections with the Morris County Municipal Utilities Authority (MCMUA), one located along West Hanover Avenue in the 1000 gradient system; one at the intersection of Woodland Road and Cold Hill Road at the Clyde Potts Reservoir in the 670 gradient system in Mendham Township; and the third at the intersection of Gaston Road and Sussex Avenue in the 670 gradient system in Morris Township. In addition, the Authority has interconnections with the New Jersey-American Water Company along Park Avenue in Florham Park in the 523 gradient system and along Melanie Lane in Hanover Township in the 423 gradient system.

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