Manchester Water Tower Back In Use

The water tower is currently being used after being renovated. (Photo by Jennifer Peacock)

MANCHESTER – The township’s water tower is nearly complete and has been filled with water for a couple months, officials said.

“General status is the project is substantially complete and the tower has had water in it for several months. We have a small punch list of items that the contractor needs to complete but nothing that impacts the day to day function of the tower,” public works director Al Yodakis said. “The project is on budget but the schedule was pushed back significantly due to weather this fall and winter.”

The project cost $1.165 million, funded by the low-interest Environmental Infrastructure Trust, made available through the state, Yodakis added.

“We are pleased the water tower refurbishment is completed and thank the residents for their patience during the project,” Mayor Kenneth Palmer told The Manchester Times.

The one-million-gallon tanks sits between routes 70 and 37 near Colonial Drive. It provides water for the eastern service area of town, anyone along and east of Route 37, Lakehurst Borough and the Lakehurst Naval Air Engineering Station and Warfare Center. According to the 2016 annual drinking water report, this area gets its untreated water from nine municipal wells sunk 75 to 1,150 feet underground, feeding from the Kirkwood-Cohansey and Upper Raritan aquifers. That water is then treated at one of four treatment facilities.

The township placed outside watering restrictions on the eastern service area on Sept. 11, forbidding most watering with some exceptions, such as those with private wells or newly sodded properties, or public parks, recreation areas or nurseries. Those restrictions were placed in order to paint and repair the tank, which was visibly rusted on its outside.

That was in addition to the usual restrictions placed in the summer months, when residents alternate days to water outside.

Photo by Jennifer Peacock

“Ultimately, on the east side of town, to alleviate the water restrictions that occur each summer, we will need to increase our ability to store water,” Palmer wrote in an email to The Manchester Times. “Manchester’s ability to pump water is not the problem. It’s how do we store it?”

Residents burn through one million gallons of water quickly, especially when watering their lawns each day. It’s easy to see the water line physically drop when everyone turns on their sprinkler systems at 5 a.m. in the summer months, the mayor said.

Palmer touched upon the township’s plan to remedy this problem.

“When we look at these things, we look at things we need to do in two years, in five years, in 10 years,” he said. The year-two plan was to paint the water tower, which is happening now. “The five-year plan is to, and we are actually thinking and making preparations to figure out, where to put another elevated tank, how to finance another elevated tank, because it’s expensive.”

Such tanks may go for $3-$4 million.

The western service area, which includes parts of Whiting, gets its water from eight wells sunk 90 to 1,225 feet underground, fed by the Cohansey and Potomac-Raritan-Magothy aquifers, according to township sources. In 2010, the township purchased this water system from the Crestwood Village Water Company.