Friday, March 30, 2012

Camden County plans sewer project


CAMDEN — Officials announced plans Wednesday for a $50 million expansion of sewer capacity in towns across southern Camden County.

The project, which is expected to spur economic development, should begin next month in an area that includes Berlin Borough, Berlin Township, Pine Hill, Waterford and Winslow, according to the Camden County Municipal Utilities Authority. The project is to add 25 miles of sewer lines, allowing sewer permits to be issued for the first time in several years, said Dan Keashen, a spokesman for Camden County.

“Ultimately, this is going to expand the economic development impact in those communities,” Keashen said. “They’ll have the ability to put up new subdivisions, to put up new commercial structures.”

In addition, the towns are expected to generate income through fees for sewer permits and connections, as well as from an influx of new customers. The new lines are expected to go into operation by the fall of 2013, when the full expansion is to be completed.

“This is a very important project for us, one of the most important,” said Joseph Gallagher, Winslow’s township administrator. “There are so many large projects that we’ve had to turn away because we’re maxxed out (on sewer service).”

Gallagher said the problem is evident along Berlin-Cross Keys Road, which is lined by new shopping centers in Gloucester Township and largely undeveloped when it crosses into Winslow. “We don’t have the sewer to offer and Gloucester Township does,” he said.

The new sewer lines ultimately will connect with the county’s treatment plant in Camden. The CCMUA said that will allow the shutdown of three “antiquated” wastewater treatment plants in the southern county. They are the CCMUA’s plant in Winslow, another at Ancora State Psychiatric Hospital, also in Winslow, and a third at the Camden County Technical School on Cross Keys Road in Gloucester Township.

The project is being funded with a $48-million low-interest loan and a $2 million grant, both from the New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Trust Fund.