More Residents To Get Borough Water
Thursday, October 4, 2012 • 12:05am
HOPATCONG BOROUGH, NJ – Residents of the Arthur Well Association, 18 homes in the Heights, will soon have municipal water.
The residents currently receive their water from one privately-owned well. The State Department of Environmental Protection issued a number of violations, including having no backup power, no adequate storage and inadequate water mains, according to Borough Engineer John Ruschke.
“The DEP is pressuring them,” Ruschke said, including threatening the association with fines.
Hooking up to the borough system is the best answer, Ruschke said. However, the borough has a policy of not taking over two-inch water mains.
The engineer explained the Arthur Well Association is attempting to get $8,500 from each household to upgrade the water mains. He said 13 of the 18 households have come up with the money, which is enough to pay for the piping, but not enough to pay for labor. Because the borough water company has a main in Arthur Street and a meter pit, the borough Water Department could hook up the individual homes.
“We could connect and give them water immediately, abandon their wells,” Ruschke said. “It would improve their water quality. And we want to keep their pressure near optimum. We don’t want to over pressure their mains. I suggest moving forward to install cub boxes and water meters.”
The borough would collect the $2,500 connection fee from each homeowner, using the same two-year payment plans other residents were given.
The association is attempting to fund from the New Jersey Infrastructure Trust to compensate for the $42,500 they are currently short in paying for labor to install the pipes. Ruschke pointed out that process is time consuming. For one thing, the association would have to do a cultural resources inventory.
“It may not pay to go through the Infrastructure Trust,” he said.
Mayor Sylvia Petillo said the process of getting public water to the Arthur well uses has been going on since 2009 or 2010.
“They thought the Infrastructure Trust would be a Godsend,” she said.
Rushke said, “We can install the piping and meters now and recoup the labor costs at a later date.”
He said the borough water company pumps through two-inch mains in Elba Point and is only in the process of replacing the two-inch lines in Wildwood Shores now. There may be some leakage, but unless it is excessive it won’t cost the homeowners additional money.
“Let’s get them water,” Councilman Michael Francis said. “This is a good, practical approach.”
On another matter, Borough Administrator Robert Elia reported the borough received a $50,000 Department of Agriculture grant for housing rehabilitation. This is the third year the borough has applied, but the first year a grant came through, he said.
The grant is similar to the Community Development Block Grants which the borough received. Homeowners who fit the income requirements can borrow up to $15,000 to bring things up to code, such as roofs or windows and the money is not paid back until the property is transferred.
The loans come with only a 3 percent fee, Elia said.
He said the borough has completed work on four homes under the block grant program and is working on six more.
“We will meet our goal of having 10 completed by the end of the year,” Elia said.