Jul 20, 2011

New Jersey City to Upgrade, Repair Sewer System

Overhauls are planned to resolve Clean Water Act violations

A settlement between the United States and the Jersey City, N.J., Municipal Utilities Authority (JCMUA) will resolve Clean Water Act violations by JCMUA for failing to properly operate and maintain its combined sewer system, the Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced Tuesday.

JCMUA violations included releases of untreated sewage into the Hackensack River, Hudson River, Newark Bay and Penhorn Creek. JCMUA will invest more than $52 million in repairs and upgrades to its existing infrastructure and pay a civil penalty of $375,000.

Under the settlement, JCMUA is required to comply with its Act permit and will conduct evaluations to identify the problems within the system that led to releases of untreated sewage. JCMUA will also complete repairs to approximately 25,000 ft of sewer lines over the next eight years.
Finally, JCMUA will invest $550,000 into a supplemental environmental project that will remove privately owned sewers from homes in several neighborhoods in Jersey City and replace them with direct sewer connections, creating better wastewater collection in those areas.

Combined sewer systems are designed to transport sewage, industrial wastewater and rainwater runoff in the same pipes to wastewater treatment plants. During periods of heavy rainfall, the volume of wastewater traveling through a combined sewer system can exceed the capacity of the treatment plant.
Resulting overflows, called Combined Sewer Overflows, contain not only storm water but also pollutants, such as untreated human and industrial waste, toxic materials and debris. They pose risks to human health, threaten aquatic habitats and life, and impair the enjoyment of the nation’s waterways.