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Home Edison Sentinel Edison News Metuchen Dept. of Public Works averts sewage backups

Metuchen Dept. of Public Works averts sewage backups

Metuchen Dept. of Public Works averts sewage backups

By KATHY CHANG
Staff Writer

METUCHEN — A catastrophe was avoided on the third night of the Junebug ArtFest as a direct result of the hard work of the members of the Department of Public Works (DPW).

The three sewage pumpers that the borough has in place to pump the water from residential toilets, sinks and clothes/dishwashers broke down the afternoon of June 18.

With a temporary fix — the installation of an emergency bypass system and “shoe strings, bubble gum and everything imaginable” — officials said they avoided the potential for backups in the streets and homes.

“We dodged a bullet,” said Mayor Peter Cammarano at a Borough Council meeting in June. “In reality, [the pumping stations are] one of the most essential services we provide for residents.”

The borough has two pump stations, one is located on Orchard Street and the other is on Jersey Avenue.

“[Where these stations are located] is a part of town where not a lot of people know about and don’t want to know about,” the mayor said.

Fred Hall, director of Public Works, said the pump station on Jersey Avenue, which was constructed in 1958, averages about two million gallons of sewage per day.

It has two 14-feet-deep wet wells that are each 27 by 21 feet wide at the pump station site.

The three pumpers — one running on 50 horsepower (hp), pump two running on 100 hp and pump three running on 200 hp — which are located at the Jersey Avenue pump station, are used to pump the sewage through a 24-inch force main line.

For some time, Hall said the number two pump had provided backup for the number one pump. He said with the third pump they have tried to limit its use to flooding issues.

This sewage moves down Durham Avenue and joins sewage water from Edison Township behind the Pines Manor on Route 27 and it eventually makes its way to the Sayreville Water Treatment Plant.

Hall said these force main lines, which were built between 1918-1925, are made of cast steel and clay and are even older than the pumping station.

“We are having a lot of problems with the pump stations,” he said noting that all three pumps have broken down several times over the years, however, they were never replaced.

Hall said it was estimated that the cost to fix pump number two would be $50,000.

He said he has been working with Business Administrator Jennifer Maier to seek out quotes from Maser Engineering Consulting Firm.

Hall said the temporary emergency bypass system worked for a while, but was costing the borough $9,000 a month.

Since that time, Metuchen officials have been working with Edison Township and its DPW since the sewage flow from Edison comes through the station in Metuchen and essentially affects both communities.

Hall said Edison DPW helped them out with a six-inch bypass pump.

He said they quickly determined that the six-inch bypass pump was not adequately equipped to handle the sewage flow; however, with the rental of eight-inch suction and discharge lines attached to it and now with the operation of pump three, it has been a temporary fix in the meantime.

The rental cost of the suction and discharge lines is $3,000 a month, officials said.

Hall said Edison officials have agreed to take care of cleaning the wet wells at the pump station.

Borough officials said they will continue to work with Edison Township officials on a joint, long-term resolution.