Ordinance requires connection to new public water system in Howell

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HOWELL – Property owners in the Freewood Acres section of Howell who have a private water system will have one year to connect to a new public water system once they are advised to do so by municipal officials.

An ordinance which mandates the one-year time limit was introduced on June 11 and adopted on July 16 by Mayor Theresa Berger, Deputy Mayor Evelyn O’Donnell and Councilman Thomas Russo.

Councilwoman Pamela Richmond and Councilman John Bonevich were absent from the meeting during which the ordinance was adopted.

New Jersey American Water will install approximately 34,000 linear feet of water transmission mains through portions of Howell and Lakewood. The project is expected to increase the capacity of water distribution, increase fire protection, improve system reliability and support future growth, officials said prior to the start of work on the project.

Work is ongoing by Lucas Brothers to install a sewer line in Freewood Acres and on Route 9.

The ordinance adopted in the 3-0 vote states that “the owners of all houses, buildings and properties existing at the time of the enactment of this (ordinance) and located within Howell’s capital improvement project entitled ‘Freewood Acres and Route 9 North Sanitary Sewer Extension’ (who have) private potable water facilities, shall connect all potable water and other plumbing facilities directly to the proper public water system, within one year from the date of the official notice from the township to do so …  in accordance with all of the pertinent ordinances of Howell and regulations of New Jersey-American Water Company.”

The ordinance goes on to state that “after one year from the date of the official notice to connect, all owners who have not connected to the public water system within Howell’s capital improvement project entitled ‘Freewood Acres and Route 9 North Sanitary Sewer Extension’ will be billed by the township, on an ongoing quarterly basis until connection is made, the minimum water fixed service charge as listed in the current New Jersey-American Water tariff for water and waste water service as approved by the Board of Public Utilities.”

Township Manager Brian Geoghegan advised the council members that if they failed to adopt the ordinance, the project would cost Howell an additional $1.4 million.