3-D floor paintings to draw attention to aging N.J. infrastructure

    The utility New Jersey American Water has placed 3-D floor murals in ten train stations and malls around the Garden State to draw attention to aging water infrastructure.

    The ten-by-ten foot painting on the floor of the Cherry Hill Mall, near Nordstrom, does not look like much if you come at it from the wrong angle.

    California artist Melanie Van Latum said that is because she painted the scene of two workers repairing a water main break underground with a stretched perspective.

    “So when you look at it from one particular spot down toward the bottom of the painting, the entire thing will look three-dimensional,” Van Latum said.  From that point, the workers really look like they’re under the floor.

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    New Jersey American Water spokesman Richard Barnes said the point of the project is to raise awareness about needed repair work.

    “You can see people making repairs on bridges, and you can see the repairs going on in the road,” Barnes said. “But you can’t see the repairs that are being made with water infrastructure. So how do you bring that to life?”  The company chose art installations.

    Barnes said about 15 percent of its nearly 9,000 miles of water pipes maintained by New Jersey American Water are nearing the end of their useful life and will need to be repaired or replaced within the next several years.

    According to the Environmental Protection Agency, statewide, about $8 billion will need to be spent to upgrade water infrastructure by 2027.

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