By Peter Elacqua
HOWELL – Residents of the Freewood Acres section of Howell have had a chance to see what municipal officials have planned for their neighborhood off Route 9, just north of Interstate 195.
In one word – sewers.
On Sept. 12, the $14 million project that is being planned to bring sewer service to Freewood Acres was discussed with residents who showed up for a public hearing at the municipal building.
Jim Herrman, who is Howell’s director of community development, and Susan Brasefield, of Maser Consulting, were present to discuss the project.
The hearing for the Freewood Acres and Route 9 North Sanitary Sewer Extension Project was required by New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).
Howell officials are seeking loan funds through the New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Trust and said DEP administrators reviewed documentation for the project and determined the project warrants a Level 2 Environmental Review in order to qualify for assistance under the New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Financing Program.
The project will provide a sanitary sewer system for most of the Freewood Acres residential development, for portions of the Route 9 corridor and for the Howell K-8 School District properties associated with the Land O’ Pines School on Windeler Road.
Herrman said officials hope to seek bids on the project during the winter and award a contract by the spring. He said he is hoping construction can begin in the late spring or early summer of 2017 and expects the work to take about one year.
Brasefield said that in general with a project such as this, it is more common for work to commence on streets with a lower elevation and work up to streets with a higher elevation.
Herrman said when construction of the sewer system has been completed, the township will send a certified letter to residents affected by the construction to inform them the project is complete.
He said Howell officials will waive the $1,500 connection fee for residents who connect to the sewer system during the first year following its completion.
Officials have said the Freewood Acres project will include road improvements and address ongoing issues that involve failing septic systems and sewer problems in this section of the township.
Herrman said this is the largest capital project Howell officials have ever undertaken.
One resident asked if Freewood Acres’ streets will be closed during construction.
Herrman said roads will be closed to through traffic during construction, but will remain open to local traffic.
Brasefield said when construction begins, residents will be provided with phone numbers so they may reach township officials if certain accommodations are necessary.
In response to a question regarding existing individual septic systems, Herrman said a resident who has a septic system will have to have it drained and crushed on the top and sides so water can not get in. A plumbing permit will be required for the work to be performed, he said.
One resident expressed concern about living at a lower elevation than other homeowners and about a home in the neighborhood that has a bathroom in the basement.
Herrman said there should not be a concern about connecting to the new sewer system as long as both residences use an electric pump system.
According to plans for the project, in Freewood Acres West, 12,569 linear feet of 8-inch-diameter pipe will be installed.
In Freewood Acres East, 14,233 linear feet of 8-inch-diameter pipe and 1,085 linear feet of 10-inch-diameter pipe will be installed.
At Georgia Tavern Road/Hulses Corner Road and streets south of Georgia Tavern Road, 4,915 linear feet of 8-inch-diameter pipe and 2,287 linear feet of 12-inch-diameter pipe will be installed.
On Route 9 north and the easement near Casino Drive, 2,172 linear feet of 8-inch-diameter pipe, 5,975 linear feet of 12-inch-diameter pipe and 1,756 linear feet of 6-inch-diameter HDPE force main will be installed.