Edison, Metuchen enter shared agreement for sewage pump station

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PHOTO COURTESY OF MAYOR JONATHAN BUSCH
The sewage pumping station in Metuchen.

Since the 1950s, the Metuchen sewage pump station on Jersey Avenue and the Edison pump station located in Metuchen less than 500 feet away processed sewage for both municipalities.

A shared services interlocal agreement for the sewage pumping stations appears to not have been made, Metuchen Mayor Jonathan Busch said.

“Our pumping station pumps mostly Metuchen sewage, but also some Edison sewage,” Busch said. “The Edison station pumps mostly Edison sewage, but some Metuchen [sewage] as well. The [flow] is all intermingled.”

On July 29, the two municipalities officially entered a shared services agreement for the design and construction of a new single sewage pumping station, which will be owned, operated, maintained and managed by Metuchen.

Busch explained that the new station, which will be split among the two municipalities, will be a modern and much more energy efficient building.

The new station will replace the Edison Pump Station and the Metuchen Jersey Avenue Pump Station and will be built between the two existing stations. The design and installation of the associated measuring devices and/or meters required to measure the combined flow from Edison and Metuchen pumped to the Middlesex County Utilities Authority (MCUA) for treatment and disposal would eliminate the need for each municipality to upgrade and/or replace its own pumping station and eliminate the current practice of double pumping of wastewater, according to the resolution.

The Metuchen Borough Council approved the shared services agreement through a resolution at a special meeting on July 29. The Edison Township Council approved the agreement also through a resolution at a council meeting on July 24.

Edison Councilman Sam Joshi said the shared services agreement is government working at its best.

“This would have cost both Metuchen as well as Edison well over $3 million if we tried to do it separately; however, because of the shared services agreement, we’re splitting the costs,” he said, adding he would like to see more shared services agreements between the two municipalities.

Both pump stations are nearing their useful lives and are in need of replacements. The Metuchen Jersey Avenue Pump Station was constructed in the late 1950s and the Edison Pump Station was built in 1955.

“The condition of the Edison Pump station, which is just 500 feet away, is in much worse condition than ours,” Busch said. “Oftentimes [their station] was on bypass mode, where [flow] goes through without even being processed and into our [pump station]. It has been a significant burden to Metuchen and our DPW [Department of Public Works] for the last five years or so.”

Metuchen Business Administrator Jay Muldoon said part of the reason why it was so difficult is everything that leaves the Edison pump station comes directly into the Metuchen pump station.

In June 2016, the borough experienced a near catastrophe when the pumping stations, which the borough has in place to pump the water from home toilets, sinks and clothes/dishwashers, broke down, which led to discussions about replacing the pump stations.

The borough has two pump stations located on Orchard Street and Jersey Avenue. Officials said the Jersey Avenue station averages about 2 million gallons of sewage per day which moves down Durham Avenue and joins sewage water from Edison behind the Pines Manor and eventually makes its way to the Sayreville Water Treatment Plant.

Muldoon said he does not expect any disruption of service when the construction of the new station begins.