A Trenton Water Works employee installing an illegal water connection on the 900 block of Riverside Avenue on Aug. 14 had to be stopped from performing the work by Trenton police officers after telling a city plumbing code officials to “go fuck yourself,” according to water utility employees.
The plumbing code official apparently called in to City Hall and discovered the water works employee had not secured any of the proper permits or materials for the job. That created the potential for a public safety disaster, with unlicensed and uneducated people hacking into the water utility infrastructure without knowledge of the proper way to do so, said one water employee.
More frightening is that water employees have reported that incidents such as that of Aug. 14 have become commonplace under the Palmer administration, with water employees regularly soliciting plumbing work while working on city time.
The administration has told employees that those with proper licenses and permits are free to do such work, but only when it is not on city time. Yet a lax enforcement and punishment system has resulted in unlicensed people tapping a massive public water system all the time in the state capital.
“Imagine if a PSEG employee went out after hours fixing gas lines,” said one employee.
Utility employees said that since the rise of these activities city materials and equipment have routinely gone missing from the water utility’s storage depots, yet the administration is apparently looking the other way and whistle blowers and concerned employees are bullied and attacked into submission.
All is not well at the Trenton Water Works, where the problem of unlicensed and unsupervised plumbing work raises the prospect of sinkholes, infrastructure failures, or the possibility of widespread contamination of water used by over 60,000 customers in numerous municipalities.