The water furnished to East Orange and South Orange consumers is primarily from artesian wells. Artesian wells are deep wells. Not all underground wells are artesian wells; some are shallow wells. These shallow wells are located in unconfined aquifers where water levels rise and fall according to the amount of rainfall in the area, making them unreliable. Shallow wells are also more easily contaminated because they are less protected from things such as oil spills and chemical pollutants.
Artesian wells are located in lower confined aquifers. Water enters the aquifer from the highest level of the aquifer, and when a well is drilled at a lower level, pressure from the surface forces the water out of the artesian well.
How These Wells Formed
During the glacial period when part of North America was covered with an ice cap, the northern part of New Jersey to as far south as Perth Amboy and as far west as Summit and east to Belvidere was covered by ice. As the ice gradually melted and the southern edge of the cap retreated towards the north, millions of tons of gravel, sand and rock were deposited in layers in the various valleys. In time, these beds of sand and gravel were covered with various layers of hard clay and earth as a result of disintegration and erosion from the mountain ranges. The melting ice created the great Passaic Aquifer.
Today, East Orange and South Orange water is taken from these beds of sand and gravel, fed by the Passaic Aquifer. These beds are 100 - 150 feet below the surface of the present ground, located on the more than 2,300 acre East Orange Water Reserve in the western section of Essex County and Eastern section of Morris County (an area covering the townships of Millburn, Livingston and the Borough of Florham Park.) Wells have been driven down through the over-lying strata and the water is drawn from the sand and gravel beds by electrically-driven deep well pumps. The department operates 18 artesian wells in four well fields located on the Reserve.
Well Fields Operational Dates
|Date|| Field Name
|1905|| Canoe Brook Well Field
|1912|| Slough Brook Well Field
|1924|| Dickenson Well Field
|1932|| Braidburn Well Field
White Oak Ridge Pumping Station
The water is forced from the wells through conduits to the White Oak Ridge Pumping Station, where it is minimally treated and then pumped to an underground distribution 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.
Underground water from confined aquifers is more uniform in temperature, taste and quality. It is less subject to pollution because there is a barrier of nonporous material protecting it. The fact that our water is never exposed to daylight until it reaches the consumers premises largely accounts for its purity, coolness, and general excellent quality.
Water Quality Reports
View the archive of Water Quality Reports for East Orange and South Orange.
Conservation & Improvement
Conserve Water at Home
- The average five minute shower takes between 15 to 25 gallons of water.
- Each person uses about 100 gallons of water a day at home.
- Toilet flushing is the largest single use of water in the home.
Percentages of Water Used
- Toilet flushing - 40%
- Bath and shower - 32%
- Laundry - 14%
- Dishwashing - 6%
- Cooking and drinking - 5%
- Bathroom sink - 3%
Water plus wind equals waste! If you water when it's windy, you will find the water going everywhere except where you want it to go! Wind also causes water to evaporate quickly.
- Read a Document on Water Conservation (PDF).
- View Quick Tips on How to Conserve Water (PDF).
- View the Water System Improvement Project (PDF).