BEAR BROOK WATERSHED PUBLIC SEWERS INQUIRY
January 7, 2021 Public Meeting #1 Recording (presentation starts at 21:00)
Over the past few years, the Township has received periodic requests from residents and other property owners in the Bear Brook watershed regarding the installation of public sanitary sewers for those neighborhoods where they do not currently exist. The project the Township is considering involves the extension of sanitary sewer trunk lines and collection mains within the roadways and existing easements throughout these neighborhoods, with the exception of Princeton View, where dry sewer lines exist. It will likely also involve making changes to the existing sewer infrastructure (pump stations, gravity mains, etc.) in order to accommodate the increased wastewater flow. Finally, it may be necessary to obtain easements for portions of the system along the side and/or rear property lines of private property.
AFFECTED PROPERTY OWNER MEETINGS AND SURVEY
Property owners preliminarily identified to be within this focus area of the Bear Brook watershed received a letter advising them of the initiative, and of two public meetings about it that are to occur in January 2021. These meetings will be recorded and posted to this page, once available. If an owner believes they were missed in the mailing, or received a mailing in error, please contact Ruth Hall at 609-799-2400 X 200.
Please do not call Ms. Hall with questions about the project at this time. It is expected that owners will have questions and many of them will be the same, so it is requested they be asked at one of the public meetings for everyone’s benefit, or emailed to where they will be compiled and answered at one of the public meetings.
The mailing also included an owner interest survey. Participation in the survey is extremely important because the information gathered from the survey is a critical first step in the decision-making process by the Township Administration. The survey should be completed after owners attend or view a recording of one of the public meetings, where many questions will be answered. The last day for survey responses will be Wednesday, January 27, 2021. The online survey requires an owner have the information printed on the paper version that came with their mailing.
If there is not a large majority of property owners in the study area that respond in favor of the project, no further work to bring sewers to the existing residential neighborhoods will be done at this time. If there is a large majority in favor of proceeding with such a project, the Township would retain an outside professional consultant to conduct preliminary engineering concepts and costs analysis during 2021. Depending on the complexity of the project and options considered, it may take up to six months to complete this original analysis, once initiated.
Once the concept engineering analysis is completed and cost estimates are available, the results would be shared and a final survey would again be sent to all potentially affected property owners. The final decision on whether there is a recommendation to proceed with the financing and implementation of a sewers construction project would depend on the responses to that second survey.
The information gathered on septic systems provides feed back to the Health Department on property owners’ knowledge about their systems and their maintenance. Each owner is the operator of their onsite wastewater system and responsible for its proper care and maintenance, which can extend a system’s useful life. The Department may find that additional public education campaigns about septic systems may be warranted based on the survey results.
INITIAL GENERAL INFORMATION
Some general information we are able to provide property owners in advance of the public meetings:
- Township does not pay for sanitary sewer extensions. However, the Township can help facilitate the installation of public sewers by initially financing the project and managing the engineering, construction and inspection of the system. All property owners in the affected area would reimburse the Township through a sewer assessment on each property that benefits by being able to connect to the sewers, once the project is completed. It is important to note that an owner would be responsible for this assessment if the extension is done regardless of the personal survey response, or whether they intend to hook up to the sewer line once installed.
- Costs that would be part of the sewer assessment would include the preparation of land surveys, engineering design plans, bid documents, permitting, property acquisition, construction, inspection, project administration and financing costs. The property owners benefiting from the project are 100% responsible for all associated costs including the interest on bonds used to finance the project.
- Currently there are up to approximately 1,000 properties in the watershed affected by this process that would have the potential to connect to the extended public system. The total estimated costs for this project are unknown at this time as the Township is attempting to first gauge community interest before retaining a consultant to prepare conceptual level alternatives and cost analysis. Other studies previously conducted within the Township have resulted in average estimated costs ranging from $30,000-$50,000 per property owner.
- Project costs would not include the costs associated with work on individual properties to abandon existing septic systems and connect homes to the public sewers. These additional costs are the responsibility of each property owner and are anticipated to be as follows:
- Septic system pump out & abandonment $2,000.00
- Sewer lateral between house and right-of-way $3,000.00
- Sewer permit fee ($0.75/S.F., $1000.00 minimum) $2,250.00 (for 3,000 S.F. home)
(all costs are approximated) Total = $7,250.00
- Property owners would not be required to connect to the public system once it is completed as long as their septic system is operating properly. However, all property owners in the new sewer area would be obligated to pay the sewer assessment following the completion of the project and the assessment process.
- The Township would be able to offer property owners two options for the payment of the sewer assessment as follows:
- Lump sum payment of entire assessment at one time
- Payment over a period of 10 years, with interest representing the Township’s arranged financing rate. Please note that if the benefiting property is sold, the balance of an assessment would have to be paid in full at the closing.
- The Township would not include the exploration of alternatives for continued use of an on-lot septic system. Any such exploration would be outside of the Township’s scope and involvement.
The Township knows potentially affected owners in the watershed study area will have questions. Questions can be asked at one of the public meetings for everyones benefit, or emailed to where they will be compiled for the public meetings, where Township Administration and staff will answer many of them.
AFTER THE PUBLIC MEETING(S)
An owner survey should be completed, either paper version or online, after an owner attends or views a recording of one of the public meetings. In order to complete the online survey an owner will need the information printed on the paper version that came with their mailing.
AFTER COMPLETING THE SURVEY
Thank you for your time and participation in this process. Results of the survey will be compiled in February and shared with Administration. They will be made public shortly thereafter. If you have any final comments you wish to share, please submit to the Township via email to: .