Freehold Borough officials make plans to construct new well

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By Matthew Sockol
Staff Writer

FREEHOLD – With a well in the Freehold Borough water plant on Waterworks Road no longer functioning, municipal officials are making plans to have a new well constructed.

On Jan. 17, members of the Borough Council introduced an ordinance that, if adopted, will provide an appropriation of $1.35 million for the design and construction of a new water well at the water treatment plant and authorize the issuance of $1.3 million in bonds or notes to finance part of the appropriation.

Council President George Schnurr and council members Sharon Shutzer, Jaye Sims and Ron Griffiths voted to introduce the ordinance. Councilmen Michael DiBenedetto and Kevin Kane were absent.

According to Business Administrator Joseph Bellina, a well at the plant no longer functions, making it necessary for a new well to be established.

“(The ordinance) sounds like a lot of money, but it’s taking care of the problem,” Shutzer said.

The current status of the water plant is a source of concern for municipal officials. As reported by engineers midway through 2016, the water plant was constructed in 1949 and has not been upgraded since 1977.

Although the engineers informed council members the plant is maintained and operational with no major service disruptions and that operators are meeting New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection finished water quality standards, they said the plant’s major equipment is approaching the end of its useful life service.

To address the issues at the water plant, the engineers suggested two solutions: upgrade the existing water plant’s equipment or construct a new water plant nearby.

The engineers recommended the construction of a new water plant because although that is a more expensive option, upgrading the existing water plant would not address flooding concerns and some of the plant’s aging equipment could not be replaced. Bellina supported the engineers’ recommendation.

Council members have not taken any action in the wake of the engineers’ recommendation to construct a new water plant.

In other business on Jan. 17, the council members passed a resolution authorizing municipal officials to submit a grant application to the New Jersey Department of Transportation (DOT).

According to the resolution, the DOT is currently implementing the Trust Fund Authority Act for 2017-18, which provides municipalities an opportunity to obtain funds to provide improvements to local streets and roads. Freehold Borough has previously used funds from the grant to effectuate and plan improvements to various streets.

Following the recommendation of municipal officials and Borough Engineer William Wentzien to include improvements to Phyllis Road and Francis Drive in the request for 2017-18 funding, the council is authorizing the completion of the necessary application documents for a Trust Fund Authority Act grant, according to the resolution. The application will include a request for state funding for the planned improvements to Phyllis Road and Francis Drive.

Finally, the council passed a resolution accepting Mayor Nolan Higgins’ nomination of Richard Gartz to a five-year term on the Manasquan River Regional Sewerage Authority.