Funding for new water treatment plant authorized by Freehold Borough officials

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FREEHOLD – Municipal officials in Freehold Borough have adopted an ordinance that will provide funding for the construction of a new water treatment plant.

On Oct. 7, council members appropriated $7.2 million and authorized debt in the amount of $7.18 million to build the new treatment plant on a well field on Waterworks Road, across from the existing treatment plant.

Freehold Borough’s existing water treatment plant was constructed in 1949 and most recently upgraded in 1977, according to municipal officials, who have said that for multiple reasons it would be impractical to improve that plant.

Plans are also in the works for the design and construction of a new well. Officials initially appropriated $1.35 million for that project, consisting of $1.3 million in bonds or notes and a $50,000 down payment.

On Oct. 7, council members adopted an ordinance that increases the total appropriation for the design and construction of the new well to $1.65 million and the total debt authorization to $1.6 million.

Officials have said the new well will replace an existing well that is no longer functioning. They said the costs associated with the new well were higher than initially anticipated and that is why the appropriation was increased by $300,000.

Engineer Brian Dougherty, of the firm Mott MacDonald, provided an update on the water treatment plant project to the council on Oct. 7.

Dougherty said the new plant will be 90 feet wide and 40 feet tall, with an exterior that reflects the historic context of the surrounding area. The building will be constructed 11 feet above the 100-year flood elevation.

He said there will be security fencing, alarms, solar panels on the roof, variable frequency drives on the well pumps, a geothermal heating and cooling system, and LED lighting.

Dougherty said the new plant will require regulatory approvals from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and the Freehold Soil Conservation District.

Commenting on a project municipal officials may only have to deal with once every 75 years, Mayor Nolan Higgins said, “We are pleased the project is moving steadily along through the engineering, technical and architectural phases.

“The users of our water utility will enjoy the benefits of our new plant and the continued work done through our entire system. Safe drinking water is one of the most important services we provide to our residents and businesses.

“While our current water supply meets all testing and quality assurance standards, this new plant will be an investment in our future water utility operations,” Higgins said.

As of Oct. 7, contract documents were being finalized so bids for the project could be accepted. The bid phase is expected to take six weeks and construction of the treatment plant is projected to take 18 months. The cost of construction is estimated at $5.9 million, according to Dougherty.