Middle Township Digest
Del Haven Water Project Advances
- By Vince Conti
COURT HOUSE – Middle Township Committee Jan. 20 held its first work session since March 16, 2020, when the work sessions fell victim to the pandemic and virtual public meetings.
The first topic was an update on the effort by the municipality to bring potable water to Del Haven through a relationship with the Lower Township Municipal Utility Authority (LTMUA).
Cody Stanford, a representative of DeBlasio and Associates, the engineering firm on the project, said the design is “fully complete.” According to Mike Chapman, of LTMUA, that is a major milestone that facilitates the process of obtaining funding through the New Jersey Infrastructure Bank, a preferred funding option to the direct issuance of construction bonds.
Chapman felt the project’s chance of receiving state funding was good, but admitted that the LTMUA would turn to bonds, if necessary. The effort to use bonding as a last resort is part of an attempt to keep debt service as low as possible, since ratepayers would have to cover that debt service.
Given the time needed for the funding approval process, Chapman estimated construction starting “at the end of the second quarter” of this year, expecting it to be a nine-month, “start to finish” project.
He said the plan would be to begin providing water connections as the project progresses through the area. A final construction schedule isn’t possible until a contractor is selected, Chapman added.
Stone Harbor Ponders Marina Park Improvements
Pump Station Project Set to Begin
STONE HARBOR – Stone Harbor is initiating a ten-month project to relocate and replace one of its two municipal sanitary sewer pumps. The project is on an expedited schedule, with completion scheduled for the second week in November.
The borough’s wastewater system utilizes two municipally owned pump stations at 114th and 93rd streets, and one additional pump station owned and operated by the county Municipal Utilities Authority (MUA) near the 80th Street Marina.
The 93rd Street pump station, constructed in the 1930s, handles 85% of the total wastewater flow for the borough. With the aging pump station in need of replacement, the borough is also using the effort as an opportunity to relocate the pump station to a recently purchased vacant lot at 94th Street, adjacent to the municipal free parking lot.
The purchase of the new pumps and a prefabricated pump station building are underway. By early February, the borough expects to take action approving the use of the contractor mobilized as part of the annual utility and road program.
Installing new sewer piping and a forced main will temporarily disrupt movement on impacted streets. To minimize that disruption, the contractor will start street work in February, but pause it in mid-June for the remainder of the busiest months of summer. The street work will pick up again following Labor Day, and end in November.
The pipework connecting the new pump station to the sewer main and eventually to the MUA station will require closures along 93rd and 94th streets, along with Third Avenue. Every effort will be made to minimize disruption to the neighboring Stone Harbor Elementary School.
Site work, the installation of the pumps and new station building, is scheduled to go on over the summer, with Borough Engineer Marc DeBlasio seeking approval from Stone Harbor Borough Council for construction activity that otherwise would not be allowed.
The pump station will be set back from 94th Street on the intended lot, allowing mature trees and foliage to mask a view of the station from the street. The entrance to the station will be from the free parking lot.
DeBlasio said that during site construction, most of the parking lot will be closed, putting a temporary strain on a borough wrestling with summer parking issues.
The prefabricated building will be equipped with Hardie board siding to give a residential appearance. The loading dock will also be designed in the manner of a residential front porch.
Given the importance of the pump station and the large portion of the borough that it services, the project is a critical aspect of infrastructure modernization.
To contact Vince Conti, email email@example.com.
Crest Considers Ways to Curb Flooding
WILDWOOD CREST ─ In the conference room of DeBlasio and Associates, the Herald met with Wildwood Crest Engineer Marc DeBlasio June 18.
A public presentation of the borough’s Flood Mitigation and Storm Sewer Master Plan was given May 22, which engaged questions and comments from residents.
DeBlasio gave further explanation of the project’s significance. He posed a deeper question: will residents partner with local government?
According to media sources, the Crest’s plan to reduce flooding involves raising roads. DeBlasio said raising roads is an option for the borough but is not the only solution.
As stated by DeBlasio during the presentation, “Each year, the borough is presented with a constant threat to this community from sea level rise, coastal flooding, nor’easters, and tropical-borne storm activity, introducing severe wave and flood impacts.”
Residents present concerns to the administration and ask for solutions to protect personal property and safety.
Since the 2018 election, Mayor Don Cabrera and commissioners have sought viable solutions to the crisis, sparking the necessity to address the Crest’s infrastructure.
According to DeBlasio, Crest officials have “major decisions” to make in days ahead.
First, commissioners may introduce a new bulkhead ordinance, requiring bulkheads to be constructed at an 8.0 elevation standard. According to a January survey, 25% of Crest bulkheads meet the current elevation standard set by the North American Vertical Datum (NAVD).
DeBlasio pointed out the borough’s ranking in the Community Rating System (CRS), a system created by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). As of October 2018, the borough holds a 6 rating, thus providing residents a 20% discount. The higher the rating, the greater the discount.
Adopting a new lot grading and drainage ordinance would require property owners to “incorporate groundwater recharge and elevate their properties to reduce flooding,” said DeBlasio.
Five Mile Island has a “tilt,” according to DeBlasio. Water cannot drain properly and ponds along the bay and beachfront. Outfall pipes have been inspected and require updating.
“After analysis, it is determined that the Washington Avenue, Atlanta Avenue, Fern Road, and Heather Road outfalls should be upgraded to increase hydraulic capacity,” reads option one. The pipes are “undersized,” according to the master plan report.
In option two, a pump station, situated at the tennis courts between Columbine and Wisteria Road would centralize drainage. A second station would be installed at the borough’s Public Works building.
Homeowners would not be impacted by the pump station, yet increasing tidal elevations make stormwater management “less effective,” according to the report.
Third, elevating roadways is another possibility. Some roadways are as low as three feet, and high tide has been measured at three feet 58 times a year. Borough roads suffer tidal flooding 58 days out of the year, making driving difficult.
According to DeBlasio, roadways along the bayfront are lowest in elevation, particularly north by Cresse Avenue, south by Rambler Road, east by New Jersey Avenue, and west by Sunset Lake.
Other municipalities have elevated street levels, such as West Wildwood. However, homeowners have experienced problems and must cooperate with the project. High costs and coordinating with Wildwood and Lower Township impose additional challenges.
Fourth, storm sewer pump stations could be installed along the bay, according to the report. Three stations would be constructed, discharging stormwater through force mains through existing bulkheads.
When asked what the approximated cost of the total project is, DeBlasio said each option has a separate amount but could total $9 million. Officials would “aggressively” pursue both federal and state grants, said DeBlasio.
According to DeBlasio, pros and cons exist in all options. Residents and officials must work together in determining the best solution for Wildwood Crest.
Maintaining good relationship with the New Jersey Coastal Coalition and Army Corps of Engineers is also paramount, said DeBlasio. Monitoring beaches, back bays, and dunes will help protect natural resources.
Upgrading the borough’s storm sewer system will tie in with the county’s road project. According to DeBlasio, the county would pay for designs to address flooding along Pacific Avenue.
DeBlasio praised Cabrera and commissioners for their efforts and proactive approach while making decisions.
Cabrera said officials were looking at what could be accomplished now and in the future.
Updating ordinances, instituting warning systems and interacting with the public encompass present plans.
“It comes down to what the Crest wants to spend,” Cabrera said, referring to the options presented to residents.
Cabrera said he is in favor of the pump stations and upgrading outfall lines along the beachfront.
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