Work continues on new sewer system in Howell’s Freewood Acres neighborhood

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HOWELL – Work is continuing on the installation of a sanitary sewer system in the Freewood Acres neighborhood off Route 9 in Howell, near Interstate 195.

Construction of the sanitary sewer system began in October 2018 and is nearing the two-year mark.

The homes in Freewood Acres were constructed decades ago at a time when septic systems were permitted on small lots.

By 2013, residents were complaining about odors in the neighborhood and municipal officials said those issues restarted the process of replacing the septic systems, which in some cases were failing.

After several years of planning and design work, an $11.3 million construction contract for the sanitary sewer system was awarded to Lucas Brothers Inc., Morganville. Subsequent changes have pushed the cost of the project to $11.9 million.

Representatives of Maser Consulting are working with Howell on the Freewood Acres project. During a recent meeting of the Township Council, James Priolo, senior principal of public services at the firm, provided an update on the work.

“All of the sanitary sewer pipes were installed in Freewood Acres east and west as of March. Residents are starting to connect to the system now. Crews will restore and pave the roads” that were impacted by the work, Priolo said.

Several issues regarding easements on certain properties will be addressed during the next month, he said.

Mayor Theresa Berger asked for a monthly update regarding the project to be provided to the governing body.

Township Manager Brian Geoghegan said residents “have been taking advantage of the affordable housing funds some people have been entitled to.”

He said residents in the project area will eventually receive a notice from Howell which will advise them they have one year to connect to the new sanitary sewer system.

In 2018, council members adopted ordinances to finance the work.

Under the terms of one ordinance, sewers are being installed in Freewood Acres on the east (northbound) and west (southbound) sides of Route 9 between Interstate 195 and Sunnyside Road. The ordinance appropriated $9.26 million.

A second ordinance authorized the construction of sanitary sewer mains and laterals to serve properties on Route 9 northbound between West Farms Road and Casino Drive. The ordinance appropriated $3.45 million.