State officials have ordered several North Jersey towns and sewer authorities to begin developing ways to cut down on the copious amounts of human waste that goes into the Hackensack, Passaic, and Hudson rivers annually.
Many of these small towns are years away from constructing new infrastructure and at least four of them have old combined sewer overflow pipes that are consistently dumping sewage into the state’s waterways.
Because of the size of many of these municipalities, there is a serious concern as to where funds for such projects are going to come from, even with potentially cost-reducing green infrastructure.
“We’re not ordering an entire pipe replacement for a city like Newark,” said Larry Hajna, a DEP spokesman. “But we recognize that it’s going to cost municipalities a lot of money to make these changes. The bottom line is we really don’t have a choice.”
Older sewer systems, especially in urban areas near rivers, also handle stormwater. And while they usually have enough capacity to direct flow into local treatment plants, the pipes often become overwhelmed during rainstorms and discharge into waterways. An estimated 23 billion gallons of raw sewage and other pollutants pour into New Jersey’s rivers and bays each year from 217 outfall pipes in municipalities with old sewage systems.”
The state has given individual municipalities three years to come up with sustainable solutions; five years to collaborating municipalities. The Department of Environmental Protection is providing loans to help fund the projects.
Inframanage.com notes that these are hard problems for small communities to resolve, particularly over a few years. There will be a lot of hard work required.
By implementing infrastructure asset management planning, these communities will have the tools to examine their:
- required service levels
- future demands
- asset lifecycle management strategies
- financial expenditure and revenue projections
The use of these infrastructure asset management planning tools will assist in enabling the New Jersey towns and sewer authorities to rise to the challenges surrounding the management of there sewer networks.
PHOTO CREDIT: Antonio Quintano via Flickr Creative Commons License