$42.8 million for wastewater treatment plant in Union Beach

TRENTON, NJ - Governor Chris Christie has signed legislation authorizing $1.28 billion in state financing for much-needed improvements to drinking water and wastewater infrastructure projects across the state, including $355 million that will protect and provide resiliency to infrastructure directly impacted by Superstorm Sandy.

“There can be no compromises in protecting the viability, integrity and resiliency of the state’s water-supply and wastewater systems, especially in areas that are vulnerable to floods,” said Governor Christie. “This infrastructure must be rigorously maintained to ensure protection of public health and the environment. This legislation is an investment in the health of our environment, the quality of our drinking water, our quality of life, our economy – and New Jersey’s future.’’

The legislation provides no-cost and low-cost loans through the New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Trust (NJEIT), an independent state financing agency, in partnership with the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).  In many cases, operators are using NJEIT’s financing program for bridge loans and access to immediate funding pending disaster reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

“This action demonstrates the power of strong state and local partnerships in tackling an issue as daunting as rebuilding and protecting critical water and wastewater infrastructure affected by Sandy,” DEP Commissioner Bob Martin said. “We are providing the financial tools our municipal governments and treatment system operators need to make sure this work gets done, ensuring our infrastructure can be relied upon in times of emergency.”

“We are proud to be playing a major part in the recovery of New Jersey from the devastation of Superstorm Sandy,” said NJEIT Executive Director David Zimmer. “All of these projects, whether directly Sandy-related or not, are critically important to our local communities and will provide thousands of construction jobs in our state.”

Sandy caused an estimated $2.6 billion in damages to wastewater and drinking water infrastructure across the state.

Nearly 100 wastewater treatment plants serving some 3.5 million people in all 21 counties reported impacts from Sandy. The Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission (PVSC), which serves 1.4 million people, was completely shut down by major flooding of its treatment plant.  The Middlesex County Utilities Authority (MCUA), serving 797,000 people, lost three pump stations, causing significant discharges to Raritan Bay.

In addition, 427 of 604 community water supply systems lost power. Of these, 70 were seriously affected by prolonged power loss. Thirty-five systems serving more than 360,000 people were subject to boil water advisories due to concerns about contamination of their supplies.

The Sandy-related projects to be financed in this round of funding include a host of resiliency measures such as construction of flood walls to protect facilities, relocation of infrastructure to safer ground, restoration of damaged facilities, emergency generators and even portable pumping stations that can be removed before a storm hits and be put back afterward.

Highlights of Sandy-related projects include:

  • $96 million for replacement and protection of the MCUA’s Sayreville and Edison pump stations
  • $42.8 million for restoration and mitigation of buildings and facilities at the Bayshore Regional Sewerage Authority’s wastewater treatment plant in Union Beach
  • $31.5 million for raising the existing floodwall protecting the New Jersey American Raritan Millstone water treatment plant
  • $11.7 million for construction of a new wet weather pump station  for Hoboken as part of the North Hudson Regional Sewerage Authority wastewater system
  • $10.6 million for rehabilitation of the PVSC’s Administration Building on Wilson Avenue in Newark
  • Construction of a 1.4-megawatt combined heat and power system fueled by fats and grease to provide a reliable power source for the Bergen County Utilities Authority.

“We have completed designs to protect against floods of greater magnitude and intensity than Sandy,” said Bob Fischer, Executive Director of the Bayshore Regional Sewerage Authority. “We will be flood-proofing buildings, raising critical assets above future flood levels and creating areas that will be allowed to flood without damage.  Since the day of the disaster, the outreach from other sewerage authorities, engineering firms, contractors, NJDEP, NJEIT, and industry associations has been incredible.  I think this disaster has taught us all how important it is to maintain communication and build partnerships.”

“Hurricanes Irene and Sandy both challenged the resiliency of our regional water systems,” said William M. Varley, President of New Jersey American Water. “This was particularly true for our Raritan Millstone Water Treatment Plant in Somerset, which serves more than one million people in seven counties. Raising the floodwall by four feet is a $25 million undertaking, which though the assistance of our successful partnership with both the New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Trust and New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection  should sustain the plant against even the one in every 500 years storm.”

In addition to Sandy-related projects, the legislation Governor Christie signed today will also provide $16.3 million to protect the Raritan River at Somerville through remediation of an old landfill; $13.5 million for cleaning and re-lining drinking water lines in Trenton; $11.7 million for the repair, rehabilitation and modernization of nine wastewater pumping stations in Camden; and $7.2 million for replacement of Rockaway Valley Regional Sewerage Authority’s Old Jersey Trunk Sewer system, damaged by Hurricane Irene.

Thanks to a combination of low interest rates and other cost saving features, the NJEIT’s financing program has saved New Jersey ratepayers and taxpayers more than $2.1 billion over the years.  For information about EIT and its financing programs, visit www.njeit.org.

For a copy of the legislation signed today by Governor Christie, plus a list of potential projects, visit http://www.njeit.org/borrowers/publications