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  • Writer's pictureJoseph F. Berenato

Lead & galvanized pipes sought

courtesy photo

Matter was discussed at

the Feb. 23 PWTC mtg.

HAMMONTON—At the February 23 meeting of the Public Works and Transportation Committee, Public Works Manager Robert Vettese discussed the current survey in the town regarding lead and galvanized water service lateral pipes.

“We sent out about 4,100 letters to everyone who has a water bill with the town; some people have 30 properties and they got 30 letters, because it deals with different parcels. We got about 800 back, so they’re responding,” Vettese said.

Vettese said that the responses were supplied to Adams, Rehmann and Heggan Associates (ARH), which will be plotting the results.

Councilman Edward Wuillermin inquired as to financial responsibility for replacing lead or galvanized pipes.

“The property owner is going to be responsible to the curb stop, and we—the town—is going to pick it up from there to the street?” Wuillermin said.

Vettese said that the town’s responsibility extends to the water meter.

Councilman Steven Furgione commented further.

“I’m hoping that we certify some plumbers, the homeowner will contract with them and we’ll reimburse them through some program that we’re going to get money for,” Furgione said.

Vettese said that the state of New Jersey has allowed 10 years to replace lead and galvanized pipes.

“We took the initial step. We get the responses back. We’ve got to do some additional research to square away how many, and then we go from there,” Vettese said.

Furgione continued.

“Then we’ve got to get our funding in place … if we have to replace lead service lines—if there are any—this is going to be humongous,” Furgione said.

Councilman Sam Rodio commented regarding financial responsibility.

“And you’re going to have to incur the cost; the entire cost. The homeowner’s going to fight you if you think anything else,” Rodio said.

Furgione agreed.

“We know that; the government’s going to pick up the tab, but we don’t know if it’s 1,000 or how many it is. We’ve got to figure out what we’re doing. Step one is, what are we dealing with? Then, step two is quickly start applying for money,” Furgione said.

Vettese also discussed progress in contacting residents in the Lakeview Gardens section of Hammonton regarding private wells that are potentially contaminated with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

“Letters went out. We sent another 24 that went out; we did get six people who responded back,” Vettese said.

Vettese said that one respondent had his well tested and had acceptable levels of PFAS.

“There’s still about 24 people left who have not responded, so I guess I’ll try to call them again,” Vettese said.

During his report, Town Engineer Mark Herrmann, who appeared via Zoom teleconferencing software, gave an update regarding the site of the former Mazza Muffler on Egg Harbor Road.

“I did receive the bids for Mazza last week; the low bidder was Winzinger, and his low bid was $88,000—which is about $7,000 or $8,000 less than our estimate was in the grant application. I believe that the money is available to award that,” Herrmann said.

Business Administrator Frank Zuber confirmed that assertion.

Herrmann also discussed progress on the proposed road work on Old Forks Road, for which the town received a grant from the New Jersey Department of Transportation (DOT) in the amount of $300,000 for fiscal year 2022, and received an additional grant in the amount of $287,000 for fiscal year 2023.

Herrmann said that the first phase of the project, which would begin at the town line, will run across Third Street, which is a county road.

“I tried getting a hold of the county. I haven’t gotten any response regarding providing us with the casing under Third Street to run water down Old Forks. As soon as I get that, I’ll be able to present that and work through there,” Herrmann said.

For the second phase, Herrmann said that the entirety of Old Forks Road has already been surveyed.

“I can present another cost proposal to do the second phase now, then we can send everything up to the DOT at the same time and award this as one contract to a contractor. It wouldn’t make much sense to have two different bids with potentially two different contractors. By then, we should have everything worked out with the county to get that work done and coordinate with them,” Herrmann said.

Wuillermin inquired as to the deadline to award a contract for the first phase of the project, and Vettese replied.

“October of this year, or we lose the money,” Vettese said.

Furgione inquired further.

“If you combine the two together, can we get this out to bid by the summer so we can do a fall project?” Furgione said.

Herrmann replied in the affirmative.

“It would be nice to get this thing out to bid and get it moving late summer before school gets back in session,” Herrmann said.

Mayor Stephen DiDonato, who also appeared via Zoom, concurred.

“Let’s get it all done as one project,” DiDonato said.

Herrmann described the scope of the two phases.

“I’m trying to get at least to Walnut, maybe stretch it out a little further to the Road to Excellence, but I don’t think we’re going to get to the Pike with this money. It’s just too long,” Herrmann said.

Vettese discussed potential road projects during his report, noting that he met with a representative Asphalt Paving Systems (APS).

“They’re supposed to be working up a rough price for three things: Peach Street, from Packard to Central—that’ll probably be a double application, and also some hot-mix asphalt repair on those cross trenches. While we were going out, he’s going to give us a price to single-coat the rest of Peach, from Central to Egg Harbor Road,” Vettese said.

Vettese continued, noting that APS has a state contract that expires in July.

“If we want to do the micro surfacing, he can still honor the pricing of the state contract. That might change a little bit after July 1,” Vettese said.

Vettese said that hot-asphalt repair on a portion of Reading Avenue was also discussed.

“There’s a bad patch at the intersection,” Vettese said.

Vettese said that he was also discussed drainage issues on Reading Avenue with Public Works Department Head Scott Rivera, who commented on potential conflicts with underground utilities.

“You’ve got fiber optics in two areas there. There’s one lateral that runs parallel with the roadway, and one lateral that goes under the roadway—right where two inlets would be needed,” Rivera said.

Vettese said that he would call for a utility mark-out, and DiDonato commented further.

“If you put a swale on the southerly side of the shoulder, you can get that water to that low spot between the second house on the right and the third house on the right where it’s supposed to go. You might have to take a few shots with a transom, but that could happen,” DiDonato said.

Rivera replied.

“That’s where the fiber optics run; on that side of the roadway,” Rivera said.

DiDonato responded.

“You don’t have to dig it up, you don’t have to dig an inlet, nothing. All you have to do is a slight swale that’s maybe four to six inches deep in one spot to almost nothing, and you’ll get the water to go that way,” DiDonato said.

During his report, Herrmann said that the town needs to revise its lot-grading ordinances in order to be in compliance with new stormwater regulations from the Pinelands Commission.

“The Pinelands made it a lot harder for homeowners now to build or own a house and meet their stormwater regulations. You’ve got to recharge your 10-year storm for your roof area, and our ordinance actually lets you not provide a lot-grading plan for over an acre. That’s got to go; each lot has to have a plan, and every home has to have a recharge area,” Herrmann said.

Furgione inquired about the matter.

“If you have less than an acre, where the heck are you going to recharge on your property? Let’s say you have a half-acre lot; where are you going to go?” Furgione said.

Herrmann replied.

“That’s exactly what I said, and they don’t care,” Herrmann said.

Furgione asked Herrmann for clarification.

“In your opinion, any lot is going to require a grading plan in order to be considered buildable?” Furgione said.

Herrmann replied in the affirmative.

“I think, in order to comply with the Pinelands rules, there’s no way around it,” Herrmann said.

DiDonato commented on the matter.

“They’re trying to build a rock so big you can’t pick it up,” DiDonato said.

The next meeting of the Public Works and Transportation Committee will be March 23.


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