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South River will figure out finances to fund new water well

SOUTH RIVER–Having been in operation for more than 60 years, the South River Borough Council listened to a CME Associates project manager discuss the possibility of building a new water well.

Borough Engineer Bruce Koch said the borough currently has three wells.

“The well needs to be repaired and we are looking into exactly what needs to be done and how it is to be done,” Mayor John Krenzel said.

Ed Traina of CME Associates spoke about the history of the well and the repairs/improvements it has received in recent years on Jan. 28 during a council meeting.

Borough Administrator Art Londensky said the borough is allowed to supply a certain percentage of water from the wells. The balance of the water that it cannot supply, the borough buys from East Brunswick.

“I have worked with [Koch] on a number of your projects at the water plant and as well as the well over the years,” Traina said. “The well that’s in questions was installed in 1952 … we are pushing the end of the useful life of a well especially in the soil that we have in the central New Jersey area which are very acidic [and have] a lot of clays. So, that is not really good for the well’s casing.”

Traina said that in 2009, CME Associates rehabilitated the well and that it took quite a bit of work to get it back to almost what it originally was.

Due to clay being present in the soil in this area, Traina said CME Associates noticed quite a bit of iron and were pumping out a lot of iron out of the ground, which tends to build up inside the well casings.

“In 2017, the operator noticed that the well level, [meaning] the water level in the well, had significantly dropped to the point where we’re actually thinking it may have sucked in air and that’s because the gravel in the screen at the bottom [became] plugged with this iron,” Traina said. “So in the summer of that year, we had A.C. Schultes go out and try to re-establish/rehabilitate the well and they sent about three weeks out there. … They got it three-quarters of what the original capacity was.”

Traina said the well used to pump 1,000 gallons of water per minute.

“The concern is that because we can’t get the water into the well fast enough if we put a 1,000 gallon per minute pump back in there the level in the well will draw out faster. The pump is going to pull the water out faster than the water can get into it,” Traina said. “What we have done is put a smaller pump in the well which [pumps] 675 gallons a minute … so basically what we have done is reduce what you can get out of the well in order to preserve how long it’s going to last before you have to rehabilitate it.”

Traina said after CME Associates ran a camera down into the well and noticed that whereever there was a joint inside the well’s metal casing there were a lot of pinholes and in other areas metal loss had occurred.

“The concern with that is you could get sand, you can get pebbles [and] you can get water from the aquifer that is higher up. … Basically what we have done is you are getting diminished capacity from this well, it’s only going to go down from here it’s not going to get better,” Traina said. “I don’t think we will ever get it back to the 1,000 gallons a minute, but more importantly it looks like you got water from other aquifers leeching through the casing pipe and into the well potentially [getting] some contamination from surface waters.”

Since the well has been in service for more than 60 years, Traina said the borough can get a new well costing roughly $875,000 for construction, which would include a new well, a well pump, pumping to a new treatment plant and a structure over it to protect it from the weather.

“Our next step is that we have to introduce a bond to pay for this. So, before we can go out to bid we must have the bond in place. The council is working with our bond counsel and at some point soon we will introduce a bond ordinance and we will introduce it on the first reading, and then we have a public hearing,” Londensky said. “After that bond ordinance is hopefully passed by the council then there is an estoppel period and after that, we are allowed to go out to bid.”

For more information, visit www.southrivernj.org/SR-TV.html.

Contact Vashti Harris at vharris@newspapermediagroup.com.

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