DEP Reaches Settlement Agreement with Middlesex
County Utilities Authority
MCUA Will Construct New $32 Million Sewage Line
to Prevent Future Spills
(04/80) TRENTON -- Settling violations
of the Water Pollution Control Act, Department of Environmental
Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell today
announced that the Middlesex County Utilities Authority
(MCUA) will pay the state $100,000 and install an additional
force main sewage pipe to prevent future sewage spills from
its wastewater system. The settlement agreement addresses
a March 2, 2003 sewage line break near MCUA's Sayreville
facility that caused the extended closure of over 26,000
acres of shellfish beds in the Raritan Bay, Sandy Hook Bay,
the Navesink River and the Shrewsbury River.
"This agreement underscores the importance of strong
enforcement to protect public health as well as the livelihood
of New Jersey's commercial fisherman," said Commissioner
Campbell. "The Middlesex County Utility Authority is
correcting its system's weaknesses."
The March 2003 sewage spill was caused by the rupture of
the 102-inch force main near MCUA's Sayreville wastewater
treatment plant. Overflowing wastewater material flooded
a nearby neighborhood and entered a tributary to the Raritan
River. In order to repair the 102-inch force main, MCUA
diverted sewage flow to a parallel, unused 72-inch main.
Excess sewage material from the 72-inch parallel main was
discharged to the Washington Canal and the Raritan River.
MCUA's water discharge permit did not authorize the discharge
of pollutants to the areas affected by the spill.
Under the terms of the settlement agreement, MCUA will
install a second, 60-inch force main to facilitate inspection
and repair of an existing 60-inch main. MCUA will begin
constructing the main, which will cost an estimated $32
million, by March 1, 2006. The project will be completed
by March 1, 2008.
The settlement also stipulates that MCUA must frequently
monitor and inspect existing sewer mains and identify emergency
power sources. In addition, MCUA will implement an outreach
and education program to communicate with consumers and
members of the wastewater management field regarding the
2003 spill and measures taken to prevent future spills.
MCUA repaired the 102-inch force main on March 12, 2003,
and installed a state-of-the-art acoustic monitoring system.
All shellfish beds affected by the spill were reopened by
April 17, 2003. MCUA is currently in compliance with its
DEP permit requirements.