Carteret, NJ – Mayor Dan Reiman and Councilman Joseph “Skippy” Sitarz announced this week that a 25 year old sewer ban, imposed by the NJDEP, has been lifted for West Carteret residences and businesses. According to Reiman, this will be a major step towards continued development and redevelopment in the West Carteret area.
“We fully understood, then and now, the need to address the limitations of Carteret’s sewer systems,” Mayor Reiman stated. “It should not be underestimated how vital the lifting of this ban will be for progress in Carteret.”
Initially, the NJDEP imposed a town-wide sewer ban in the 1980’s, as the Borough’s then antiquated system had exceeded its capacity. At the time, the sewer system was 75 years old in many areas. In the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, $10 million in federal funding was secured to address the system’s limitations, primarily to separate sanitary systems and storm water systems, which had previously been interconnected.
That project failed to address certain areas and to isolate each sewer system, so that cross connections still existed, and excess stormwater continued to overburden the town’s pump stations.
In the early 1990’s, the ban was reduced to the “Hill District” in Carteret proper, and West Carteret. In 2007, the Reiman administration announced that a series of sewer system upgrades, made possible through the application of $5 million state and federal grants, had led to the lifting of the 20 year old ban on the Hill District’s lines.
The original area-wide sewer ban, applied in 1985, was accompanied by an NJDEP Administrative Consent Order (ACO), a monitoring and enforcement document of the State, requiring the Borough to investigate the sanitary sewer system in an effort to determine the sources of extraneous flow, and to develop strategies for eliminating the wet weather induced infiltration and inflow (I/I) from entering and causing the surcharging.
In order to address the requirements of the ACO, the Borough conducted a number of sewer investigations over the course of 10 years. In 2001, studies of approximately 42,000 feet of sewer lines led to the termination of 102 illegal sewer connections, and the identification of 57 others, as well as the elimination of cross connections, and the establishment of several new pump stations. These included the Hayward Street Sanitary Sewer PS (pump station) and Force Main and Dorothy Street PS Upgrades, and led to the establishment of the West Carteret and Hill District Sanitary Sewer Rehabilitation Programs.
$5 million has been applied towards improvements in West Carteret alone, with another $1 million secured through the contributions of private developers who have maintained an interest in the area.
Carteret is currently seeking an additional $8.0M in Federal and State Stimulus Grant and Low Interest Loan Funding through the NJDEP and NJEDA Environmental Infrastructure Trust (EIT) Program, to proactively continue sewer system improvements and maintenance.
“We’re particularly grateful to Senator Bob Menendez,” Mayor Reiman said, “for his effort towards securing millions of dollars during his time in Congress and as a United States Senator. Carteret has redefined itself as a welcome home to business and progress. Capital improvements such as these will pave the way for further growth and increased livability.”
“This is an example of incredible improvements being made that might easily go unnoticed,” Councilman Skippy Sitarz, who also served as Councilman in the 1970’s and 1980’s, added. “This was a formidable obstacle to Carteret’s continuing development, and one which took considerable planning and Federal support to resolve. The product of these changes will become readily apparent as the West Carteret commercial corridor experiences re-growth proportional to the Borough’s other business districts.”
- 1985 – The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection identifies a number of issues pertaining to Carteret’s sewer system, relating to excessive cross connections. A sewer ban is imposed on the entire town, along with an Administrative Consent Order, setting requirements for the resolution of sewer capacity problems, and by which the ban could be lifted.
- Late 1980’s / early 1990’s – $10 million in federal dollars is spent to address the Borough’s sewer problems. The project fails, leaving many cross connections in existence, and continuing to overburden the town’s pump stations.
- 1993 – the ban is partially lifted by the N.J.D.E.P.. The Hill District and West Carteret retain the ban.
- 2001 – studies are completed, identifying existing cross connections, and terminating illegal connections.
- 2007 – 7 years and $5 million of work is completed on the Hill District’s sewer system. The N.J.D.E.P. ban is lifted for this area.
- May 2009 – 10 years of studies and improvements are completed for the West Carteret sewer system. The N.J.D.E.P. approves Carteret’s Performance Evaluation Report, establishing that crucial areas in West Carteret met Adequate Conveyance Capacity standards.
- June 26, 2009 – West Carteret’s sewer ban is lifted.