Council Hopes To Meet With Water Co. To Discuss Freewood Acres

Council discussed the upcoming Freewood Acres project, which will extend a sewer system to the neighborhood. (Photo by Sara Grillo)

HOWELL – With roads slated to open for a large-scale sewer project, officials wondered if it was also an opportunity to see if other utilities wanted to complete upgrades.

American Water in particular was discussed at the January 24 meeting, as they will be expanding their infrastructure behind the Board of Education Administration Building at 200 Squankum-Yellowbrook Road.

Councilman Robert Walsh suggested scheduling another meeting with the water company to discuss their involvement in the Sanitary Sewer Extension Project, a plan that would install sewers within the Freewood Acres single family housing development. It is currently the largest capital improvement project in Howell’s history.

In an open letter to Howell residents back in February. 2015, Director of Community Development James Herrman said the goal of the project was to prevent failing septic systems, which are a leading cause of groundwater contamination in the country.

“Average septic failure rates are between 10 and 20 percent yearly and these are the failures that are documented and reported to the Board of Health for repair or replacement,” said Herrman in the letter. “Those numbers do not include systems that are contaminating groundwater that homeowners are not aware of.”

American Water plans to open roads in Freewood Acres to put in sewers, but they are not anticipated to take on the cost of installing water lines at that time.

“If there was ever a time to run water lines, it is when they’re open,” said Councilman Walsh, adding, “If it doesn’t happen now, there will never be water.”

The council is now working to get a meeting on the calendar with American Water, Mr. Herrman, Councilman Robert Walsh and Deputy Mayor Robert Nicastro, who also sits on the township’s planning board.

The Freewood Acres project will create a local collection system that discharges into individual manholes at the local intersections and eliminate smell and (sewage) backup issues.

Residential and commercial properties along Route 9 North, from West Farms road to Casino Drive will also be getting sewer installation. New Jersey American Water is responsible for sewer activities on Route 9 South, so it is not involved in this project.

According to Sue Gracefield, Project Manager from Maser Consulting, they have applied for permits for Manasquan River Regional Sewage Authority, Ocean County Utilities Authority, NJ DEP, Freehold Soil Conservation and the NJ Department of Transportation who has jurisdiction on Route 9.

Township officials have said previously that this project will address ongoing issues that involve failing septic systems and sewer problems in those areas, but the project will provide a new sanitary sewer system for most of Freewood Acres, portions of Route 9 and some Township properties associated with the Land O’Pines School.

(Photo by Sara Grillo)

The estimated cost of the proposed project is $13,955,084.94 and the Township is seeking loan funds through the New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Trust.

The project includes all portions of Freewood Acres on the east and west side of Route 9.

As for residential, the project map shows the east side will include Wilentz Avenue, the portion of Windeler Road between Georgia Tavern Road and the Board of Education property, Georgia Tavern Road from just east of Helen Avenue to Route 9 and all interior portions of the Acres. The west side will include Hulses Corner Road from Route 9 to Smith Street and all interior portions of the Acres.

As for commercial, this project has conceptually included all commercial and residential properties on Route 9 north and south between Georgia Tavern Road/Hulses Corner Road and White Street. Gravity sewer already exists on Route 9 north between White Street and the White Castle. A combination of gravity sewer and a force main exist on Route 9 south between Ideal Plaza and White Street. Gravity sewer is proposed on Route 9 north from Suburban Propane to Casino Drive. The remaining portions of Route 9 are within the New Jersey American Water company franchise area and are not part of this project.

The section of Route 9 that is not connected to sewer within the New Jersey American Water sewer service area includes Route 9 southbound between the Freehold Township border and Strickland Road along with the area between Bergerville Road and West Farms Road (with the exception of Home Depot), township officials said previously.

Freewood Acres West portion would include 12,569 linear feet of 8-inch pipe installed; Freewood Acres East, 14,233 linear feet of 8-inch and 1,085 linear feet of 10-inch pipe installed; Georgia Tavern Road and streets south would have 4,915 linear feet of 8-inch and 2,287 linear feet of 12-inch pipe. In addition, a force main and its linear pipe will be installed on Route 9 North and the easement near Casino Drive.