SOMERVILLE – The Somerset County Board of Commissioners recently awarded $7.6 million for five sewer and water projects affecting 13 municipalities and almost 200,000 residents.
The allocations are part of the approximately $64 million the county received from the American Rescue Plan to help residents, communities and businesses recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The largest funding allocation is for the reconstruction of the Somerset Raritan Valley Sewer Authority’s storm control pump station that supports seven communities including Branchburg, Bridgewater, Hillsborough, Manville, Raritan, Somerville and Warren. The more than 30-year-old emergency pump station operates when storm events create very high flow conditions. When operating properly the emergency pump station ensures that at high flow all sewage is maintained in the system and does not enter waterways or residential properties. The station is currently located in a flood plain and as a result the generator and electrical components were flooded and failed during Hurricanes Floyd, Irene and Ida.
The $3.8 million project will relocate the generator above the flood zone and elevate the electronics and sensors above the pump station to prevent future failures, protecting the public health and the environment. Ratepayers will not only save the costs of the rehabilitation project, but the Authority will save on potential future failure expenses and additional insurance costs once the project is complete, according to county officials.
South Bound Brook is receiving $1.7 million for a borough-wide rehabilitation program of its more than 10 miles of aging sewer lines, including closed-circuit television inspection, sewer main cleaning, joint grouting and manhole rehabilitation The project will significantly reduce ground and storm water infiltration that can impact sewer efficiency and increase flow to the treatment plant, ultimately reducing costs for the ratepayers, county officials said.
The Miller Lane Pump Station serving residents of Bedminster, Far Hills and Peapack-Gladstone will be rehabilitated at a cost of $1.5 million resulting in a more efficient operation, reduced electrical hazards and lower costs, according to county officials. This pump station not only serves the residents of these communities, but also Bedminster School, Matheny School, two libraries and many businesses.
Montgomery will receive $500,000 to connect the Otto Kaufman Community Center to the municipal water system, removing it from well water to provide more consistent and reliable water for its users. The community center hosts more than 50 seniors each weekday, and hosts COVID-19 and other vaccine clinics, Recreation Department special events, various nonprofit meetings and events, and is home to the local Food Pantry. The well serving the community center has sometimes struggled to maintain pressure during demand, and on several occasions has not met drinking water standards requiring that water fountains be turned off.
Green Brook will use its $180,000 allocation to fund the final three years of a four-year initiative to perform closed-circuit television inspection of its sewer lines and perform cleaning as necessary to improve flow along the line. Additionally, the project will identify weaknesses and areas in need of repair the township will use to plan future projects to prevent potential failures that could impact public health and the environment.
“These upgrades and repairs to our County’s aging sewer and water systems will make a real difference in the quality of life and health of our residents,” Somerset County Board of Commissioners Deputy Director Melonie Marano, liaison to the Public Works Department, said in a press release. “Whether replacing aging infrastructure, improving the quality of public drinking water, or providing storm resiliency these projects are vital for our residents and municipalities as we come out of COVID and move forward into this century.”