NJDEP Lifts West Carteret Sewer Ban

CARTERET—The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection lifted a 25-year-old ban on new links to the sewer system in West Carteret, paving the way for continued development and redevelopment in the neighborhood.

“We fully understood, then and now, the need to address the limitations of Carteret’s sewer systems,” Mayor Daniel Reiman said. “It should not be underestimated how vital the lifting of this ban will be for progress in Carteret.”

Initially, the NJDEP imposed a town-wide sewer ban in the 1980s, as the borough’s then-antiquated system had exceeded its capacity. At the time, the sewer system was 75 years old in many areas. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, $10 million in federal funding was secured to address the system’s limitations, primarily to separate sanitary systems and storm water systems, which had previously been interconnected.

That project failed to address certain areas and to isolate each sewer system, so cross connections still existed, and excess stormwater continued to overburden the town’s pump stations.

In the early 1990s, the ban was reduced to the “Hill District” in Carteret proper, and West Carteret. In 2007, the Reiman administration announced that a series of sewer system upgrades, made possible through the application of $5 million state and federal grants, had led to the lifting of the 20-year-old ban on the Hill District’s lines.

Another $5 million has been applied towards improvements in West Carteret alone, with another $1 million secured through the contributions of private developers who have maintained an interest in the area.

Carteret is currently seeking an additional $8.0M in Federal and State Stimulus Grant and Low Interest Loan Funding through the NJDEP and NJEDA Environmental Infrastructure Trust (EIT) Program, to proactively continue sewer system improvements and maintenance.

“We’re particularly grateful to Senator Bob Menendez,” Reiman said, “for his effort towards securing millions of dollars during his time in Congress and as a United States Senator. Carteret has redefined itself as a welcome home to business and progress. Capital improvements such as these will pave the way for further growth and increased livability.”

“This was a formidable obstacle to Carteret’s continuing development, and one which took considerable planning and federal support to resolve,” Councilman Skippy Sitarz. “The product of these changes will become readily apparent as the West Carteret commercial corridor experiences re-growth proportional to the borough’s other business districts.”

1985 – The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection  identifies a number of issues pertaining to Carteret’s sewer system, relating to excessive cross connections. A sewer ban is imposed on the entire town, along with an Administrative Consent Order, setting requirements for the resolution of sewer capacity problems, and by which the ban could be lifted.

Late 1980s / early 1990s – $10 million in federal dollars is spent to address the borough’s sewer problems. The project fails, leaving many cross connections in existence, and continuing to overburden the town’s pump stations.

1993 – the ban is partially lifted by the NJDEP. The Hill District and West Carteret retain the ban.

2001 – studies are completed, identifying existing cross connections, and terminating illegal connections.

2007 – 7 years and $5 million of work is completed on the Hill District’s sewer system. The NJDEP ban is lifted for this area.

May 2009 – 10 years of studies and improvements are completed for the West Carteret sewer system. The NJDEP approves Carteret’s Performance Evaluation Report, establishing that crucial areas in West Carteret met Adequate Conveyance Capacity standards.

June 26, 2009 – West Carteret’s sewer ban is lifted.

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