Manchester Water Tower Improvement Won’t Ease Water Restrictions

The water tower can be seen from several areas on the eastern side of town. (Photo by Jennifer Peacock)

MANCHESTER – Improvements to the township’s eastern service area water system won’t equate immediate relief from restrictions placed on residents back in September.

Mayor Kenneth Palmer told the audience at Township Council’s regular Oct. 23 meeting the project to paint the township’s one million gallon water tank will be completed in more than eight weeks. At press time, scaffolding surrounded the entire structure, which sits between routes 37 and 70 near Colonial Drive.

The total cost is expected to be $1.165 million, township clerk Sabina Skibo said in an email to The Manchester Times.

The eastern service area includes 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. Those with private wells or newly sodded properties, or public parks, recreation areas or nurseries, are exempt. The 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.

“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?”

One million gallons might seem like a lot, but it doesn’t go far when all the residents on the east side of town water 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.