By Inga Saffron, Inquirer Staff WriterPosted: September 07, 1987
SURF CITY, N.J. — Thousands of beachgoers rose in unison from their blankets and folding chairs at precisely 2 p.m. yesterday, walked to the water's edge and clasped hands to create an 18-mile-long human bulwark against pollution.
Moving toward the sea as if drawn by some tidal force, the sun worshipers formed an unbroken chain along the length of Long Beach Island to demonstrate their concern for the health of the Atlantic Ocean. Elsewhere along the Jersey shore - from Monmouth County to Cape May - autonomous links of bathers also stood shoulder to shoulder in solidarity.
"As far as I could see, there were people," said Karen Kiss, a member of the Surf City Concerned Taxpayers Association, which helped organize the protest. She said reports from members indicated that protesters had lined the island's beaches from Barnegat Light to the tip of Holgate.
Most people were brought to the water's edge yesterday, during the final weekend of the summer season, by a consensus that the ocean is getting dirtier. This was a summer that saw dolphin carcasses, oil slicks, tar balls, hypodermic needles, raw sewage and other suspicious detritus wash ashore or appear just off the horizon.
The purpose of yesterday's "Human Chain of Concern," Kiss said, was to spur New Jersey lawmakers to act on a bill, sponsored by Republican Sen. Leonard T. Connors of Surf City and Republican Assemblyman Jeffrey W. Moran of Beachwood, that would end ocean dumping of trash and sewage sludge.
The measure, designed to phase out the dumping practices over five years, has been stuck in committee, Kiss said.
Alarmed by the onslaught of pollution this summer, Ann Morgan said she made a special trip yesterday from her Ewing home to Surf City to join hands with the other demonstrators. Her summer rental ended last weekend, and she "drove all this way even knowing I'd have to stand in the rain."
Although the environmental group Save Our Shores, the Surf City taxpayers' group and other local organizations began more than a week ago to coordinate the protest, modeled on the Hands Across America fund-raising project, the event had an air of spontaneity.
Louis Bonanni, president of the taxpayers' association, had come armed with a megaphone, intending to call instructions to the swimmers when the clock struck 2. But before he could issue orders, droves of people began moving toward the water.
"Hey, they're lining up," he shouted suddenly. Dropping his megaphone, he rushed to join the chain.
All morning the protest had been threatened by dark clouds that hung low over the beach. It was only when people spread out along the beach, taking care not to let the ocean touch their feet, that the fat rain droplets began to fall. But the line held for the full five minutes that organizers had planned.
Many said they were there because they felt strongly about the issue. The pollution "did wreck a lot of people's vacations," explained Megan Errickson, 15, of Delran, who joined her schoolmate Robin Baker, 15, on the protest line. "We're here so people could have good vacations," Errickson said.
As people joined the line, the two friends held hands and gazed solemnly out to sea. Their mood lasted about a minute before Robin's 9-year-old brother Robbey blurted out, "Hey, what's that goo on top of the water?" and the two girls collapsed in giggles.
'A MENTAL THING'
Mary Ann Fornal, a Hamilton Square resident who has spent the last 30 summers at Surf City, said she had barred her children from swimming in the ocean this year. "The pollution was so much more visible this year," she explained. "It's the thought of it that gets you. It's a mental thing."
Although some New Jersey beaches have been closed because of pollution in the past, Kiss said this year was different. At a time when people are worried about the AIDS epidemic, the presence of used hospital syringes in the surf was a powerful image that galvanized people into action.
The organizers had blitzed the area with leaflets and announced the protest in local bars Saturday night and in churches yesterday morning. "Even people you never see were there," Kiss said. "There were little old ladies coming over the dunes with canes and crutches."
Kiss said the organizers would continue to voice their demands for cleaning up the ocean even after summer light fades into fall. A strategy meeting is already planned for tonight. "You don't feel as helpless when you see a lot of people who feel the same way you do," she said.
Delay Seen In Work On Water WoesSource: https://web.archive.org/web/20160101101757/http://articles.philly.com/1988-01-08/news/26281643_1_philadelphia-water-water-shortage-adequate-water-supplies
By Jeff Brown, Inquirer Staff WriterPosted: January 08, 1988
State officials who had hoped to devise a solution to South Jersey's water shortage by the end of 1987 said yesterday that a series of troublesome issues was likely to delay key decisions until spring.
Officials of the Department of Environmental Protection are trying to decide whether South Jersey should buy water from the City of Philadelphia or rely on a new water-treatment plant that a Haddon Heights utility wants to build on the Delaware River, probably in Burlington County.
The issue is critical to municipalities in Camden, Burlington and Gloucester Counties that the state has ordered to cut back on use of the overstressed Potomac-Raritan-Magothy Aquifer, a major groundwater source that is becoming polluted by salt water from the Delaware Bay.
Those communities must decide by March how they will reduce their pumping from the aquifer to 65 percent of the amount they pumped in 1983. As part of that decision, communities need to know what other water sources are available and what they would cost.
In October, William Whipple, assistant director of the DEP's Division of Water Resources, said he expected the issue to be resolved by the end of the year.
But he said yesterday that it might take until spring to resolve a number of complex matters, such as how rates would be set if New Jersey buys water from Philadelphia and whether Philadelphia water would meet standards New Jersey expects to implement over the next few years.
"It's immensely complicated," he said.
Philadelphia Water Commissioner William J. Marrazzo said the city could offer different water-treatment processes to its New Jersey and Pennsylvania customers without major changes in its treatment plant. And he said Philadelphia water might be cheaper than water treated by a new plant built at current prices.
The New Jersey American Water Co., which supplies water to about 300,000 people in Camden, Burlington and Gloucester Counties, has proposed a $90 million treatment plant and distribution system. The plant probably would be located on the Delaware in Delran or Cinnaminson, said company vice president Philip Bright.
Both approaches to the South Jersey water shortage rely on the Delaware River, which also is running short of water. Whipple said that if this problem is not solved, South Jersey will not have adequate water supplies, even with the construction of a new treatment plant or water purchases from Philadelphia.
Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Philadelphia agreed several years ago to expand the Francis E. Walter Dam on the Lehigh River, a Delaware tributary. Water from the Walter reservoir, outside of White Haven, would be used to supplement the Delaware River flow during a drought, keeping salt water from moving upriver.
But the $100 million project has been hung up for lack of money. The states and the Delaware River Basin Commission want to establish new water-use fees to pay for the project, but a 1961 federal law that established the commission prohibited the agency from levying fees against water users who used the river before 1961.
Creek Plan May Still Leave Township ShortSource: http://articles.philly.com/1988-10-09/news/26272220_1_underground-supplies-critical-water-shortage-drinking-water
By Carol D. Leonnig and Andrew Maykuth, Special to The InquirerPosted: October 09, 1988
By getting what it asked for, Willingboro still may not get what it wants.
A New Jersey environmental official has said the state is likely to approve Willingboro's plan to draw drinking water from Rancocas Creek, a source the town turned to after the state restricted its underground supplies.
The plan will allow Willingboro to sell surplus water to its neighbor Mount Laurel, which has just about finished building a $2 million pipeline connecting the two towns' water systems. The bureau of water allocation in the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) will probably approve Willingboro's plan, Richard Kropp, a bureau official, said recently. The approval may take six months, he said.
But the news does little to soothe officials in Willingboro and Mount Laurel, who are feuding with the DEP over state restrictions on well-pumping.
In short, Willingboro thought it had plenty of well water and devised a plan, call it Plan A, to sell its excess well-water to nearby Mount Laurel. But then the state restricted the amount of well-water Willingboro could pump. So the town appealed the state's restriction and also started to work on a Plan B - the idea of drawing water from the Rancocas Creek and selling that to Mount Laurel.
Even if Plan B wins approval, which now appears likely, Willingboro won't be entirely satisfied because it won't be able to use its treatment plant to capacity.*
The state restrictions on well-pumping are designed to restore the region's depleted underground supplies. The Willingboro and Mount Laurel municipal utilities authorities, along with Evesham and Maple Shade, have appealed the state's 1986 order that restricts groundwater pumping in a wide area of South Jersey where the state has declared a critical water shortage.
The towns have questioned the boundary of the critical area, as well as the state's decision to restrict well-pumping to 65 percent of the water pumped in 1983.
For most towns, the restrictions will go into effect in 1994, when the New Jersey American Water Co. is scheduled to begin operating a proposed regional water system that would draw water from shallow wells in Delran, which is outside the critical water shortage area.
Willingboro lies in a border zone of the critical area, where it is restricted to pumping water at its 1983 levels of 112 million gallons a month. Willingboro had state permits, however, to pump up to 310 million gallons a month.
But in July, the DEP notified Willingboro that it was immediately limiting the town's well-pumping capacity to 140 million gallons a month, the town's estimated 1990 needs. When the project to remove water from the Rancocas goes on line, said the DEP's Kropp, Willingboro would be required to reduce its well-pumping to 1983 levels.
The DEP's announcement scuttled Willingboro's plans to sell 2 million gallons of groundwater each day to Mount Laurel, which needs the water to supply new residential developments.
Harry Killian, director of the Willingboro Municipal Utilities Authority, said selling water to Mount Laurel would have helped to mitigate future rate increases for its customers. The authority sells water to all of Willingboro and a western section of Westampton.
It was Richard Alaimo, engineer for both Willingboro and Mount Laurel MUAs, who suggested a pipeline to Willingboro in the spring of 1986, when Mount Laurel learned that its pumping levels would be cut.
At the time, Willingboro seemed to have plenty of water to sell; the DEP told Willingboro in early 1986 that two of its six wells fell into the unrestricted zone. By the end of the year, however, the DEP said that all six wells would be limited to pumping at 1983 levels.
Alaimo then suggested that if Willingboro would tap and treat water from the Rancocas Creek, the town could still sell water to Mount Laurel, Killian said. Local water officials complained that the DEP's decision to cut Willingboro's allocation before the Rancocas project was built amounted to punishment against two of the towns that had sued the state over the water restrictions.
"The only reason they're blocking this is because we have a lawsuit against them," said Gerald Hankins, director of the Mount Laurel Municipal Utilities Authority. Other officials said the state was stalling on approving Willingboro's plans to draw water from Rancocas Creek.
Kropp denied the state was vindictive. And he said the state was not stalling on approving the Rancocas project. Willingboro only applied for the project's permit last month, he said.
Killian said the Willingboro MUA did not want to begin engineering studies on the Rancocas project while it was challenging the DEP restrictions.
"Our position has been that we didn't want to spend the money on engineering costs if our litigation was successful," he said. The case is awaiting a court date in the appellate division of state Superior Court.
Mount Laurel, meanwhile, has all but completed a $2 million pipeline that it cannot use until the Rancocas Creek project is built.
The new pipeline will serve a southern part of Mount Laurel that has no water mains, primarily undeveloped land in the Larchmont area and the older Rancocas Woods community. The line through the creek and into Willingboro can also serve as an emergency line even if the DEP rejects the current plan.
Hankins said the Mount Laurel plan to receive water from Willingboro is intended as a "stopgap measure" until New Jersey American's regional facility is completed and able to sell water to Mount Laurel.
The Mount Laurel authority is now restricted to pumping 120 million gallons per month, the same amount it would be allowed to withdraw from the ground if and when the MUA ties into the regional pipeline in 1994.
Killian said that if the DEP approves the current Rancocas proposal, engineers can begin designing the surface-diversion plan.
The Rancocas project will include a horizontal well into the bed of the creek. Because it is unknown if the creek water will require Willingboro to build additional treatment facilities, Killian said he could not estimate when the pumping could begin.
South Jersey Prepares To Pipe In WaterSource: https://web.archive.org/web/20151019045726/http://articles.philly.com/1989-04-24/news/26143476_1_water-restrictions-water-experts-water-levels
By Carol D. Leonnig, Special to The InquirerPosted: April 24, 1989
Three summers ago, the state's environmental watchdogs stared at a map of southwestern New Jersey's underground cavern of water and saw that the source was losing water twice as fast as nature could replenish it.
Water experts forecast grim scenes. They warned of rampant groundwater contamination by hazardous wastes and a deep layer of saltwater, of water supplies that would result in curtailed showers all year long.
Remember the voluntary water restrictions from last summer's drought? No watering the lawn, no washing the car, limits on "unnecessary" water use.
"How would you like to have that for the rest of your life?" asked Mike Chern, a spokesman for New Jersey American Water Co.
To address the problem, the state Department of Environmental Protection in 1986 ordered across-the-board water restrictions in the "critical area" - mostly Burlington, Camden and Gloucester Counties. The agency then devised a plan to draw about a third of the water the area needs from the nearby Delaware River and reduce dependence on the fragile Potomac-Raritan-Magothy Aquifer.
Under the plan, called the Tri-County Water Supply Project, New Jersey American will pump river water from Burlington County's shore, clean it at a new treatment plant and pump it through a 40-mile pipeline to scores of communities in the three counties.
Now the company, the largest seller of water in the state, is within weeks of starting construction on a pilot treatment plant in Delran, where it will conduct a trial run to determine which mix of chemicals works best.
Last week, a state appellate court wiped out well-pumping restrictions put in place by the DEP to ease the strain on the aquifer, ruling that the agency did not have the power to institute the restrictions. However, water experts expect the restrictions to be reinstated.
But even if they are and all the area's towns line up to sip from New Jersey American's pipes, South Jersey residents must still be convinced that the Delaware River is drinkable. Water that has been used and reused along 330 miles of shoreline from the river's beginnings above Hancock, N.Y., cannot taste good, skeptics argue.
Burlington City Councilman Bob Bell, whose city and Trenton are the only towns in the state to pump Delaware River water, wondered, too, about what might happen to water quality in the event of an industrial spill.
The answer as to whether the water can be rendered palatable lies in the way it is treated, water experts say.
And as for concerns about an industrial spill, DEP researcher Paul Schorr said spills on the tidal stretch of river between Trenton and the Delaware Bay would be minimized by the two daily tides. The river "flushes itself rather quickly," he said.
There is a much greater danger, he said, in existing threats to the groundwater, the water in the aquifer.
With water levels dangerously low, water companies could drill deeper wells to tap groundwater. However, overpumping would bring in more Delaware River water to the aquifer, bringing along with it underground salt, waste and contaminants.
And in central Gloucester County, a large underground wedge of saltwater, believed to be the remains of a prehistoric ocean trapped underground by the last glacier, is sliding northward at a rate of 100 feet per year and has shown up in wells there.
In 1956, the United States Geological Survey estimated that 12 million gallons of the Delaware were being sucked into the groundwater every day; today, about 40 million to 50 million gallons of water are moving from river to aquifer daily.
Thousands of years ago, it worked the other way around, and the aquifer recharged the river.
But under the 30 square miles that make up the critical area, a cone-shaped depression has formed in the water source. Deep under Cherry Hill, the center and lowest point of the cone, well levels have dropped from 30 feet above sea level to 90 feet below. Such levels threaten water quality in the aquifer and lead to restrictions on wells.
Philadelphia also faces well shortages. It taps the Delaware, directly across the river from the Delran site, at the Samuel Baxter Plant.
So why not use water from the Philadelphia plant?
That gets back to the taste test.
At the Delran plant, which will be smaller than the Philadelphia facility, New Jersey American intends to use ozone rather than chlorine in its treatment process. Some water experts believe ozone, an energized cousin of oxygen, can make water taste and smell better, Schorr said.
Federal studies also suggest that ozone treatment avoids what some scientists think accompanies chlorine treatment - the formation in water of organic compounds called trihalomethanes, which have been linked to cancer.
The DEP once considered buying water from the Baxter plant. Dennis Blair, a plant manager, said the cost would have been lower than in the DEP's other options, but differing state regulations on water quality, questions about which state authority would approve rate increases and New Jerseyans' general worries about Philadelphia water sank the deal.
Interestingly enough, the New Jersey public also has worries about lowering the level of the Delaware, judging from residents' questions at public hearings on the pipeline during the winter.
The Delaware River Basin Commission, the monitor of the river and its tributaries, says that is not a matter of concern. In a 1967 study by the U.S. Geological Survey, a four-inch-wide cross section of the river under the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge measured two billion gallons of water. This tiny fraction of the river would fill more than 5,000 Olympic-size swimming pools.
The tri-county project, expected to be in operation by 1994, would draw about 30 million gallons a day, or the amount of water in 76 pools.
True, the commission warned last month of an impending drought this coming summer because of meager precipitation rates in upstate New York. But commission researchers said the Delaware's volume was so great in this tidal stretch that 30 million gallons would be "a drop in the bucket."
But although there is plenty of water, the moderate water prices to which South Jersey residents have grown accustomed are sure to rise when New Jersey American's water line is hooked up.
"There is no question the costs will have to go up," Chern said. "You don't just build a $100-plus million project and expect the costs to be the same."
Though the company has offered no estimates on the average water and sewer bill for 1994, New Jersey American already charges some of the highest water rates in the region. With the pipe alone - not counting company wells throughout the region - New Jersey American will control about 35 percent of the tri-county area's water.
The pipeline's route has stirred immediate concern in the tri-county area, particularly in Burlington, where the path was hammered out during the winter.
The line will begin at the treatment plant on the border of Cinnaminson and Delran below Dredge Harbor, then travel south through Cinnaminson along Taylor Lane. Once under Route 130, the route continues south into Moorestown.
The pipe will follow Tom Brown Road east and then turn southeast on Westfield Road. At the Mount Laurel border, the pipeline will travel along the north side of Interstate 295 toward Cherry Hill. Behind the Moorestown Mall, the pipe will tunnel under Route 73 and connect with the company's Fellowship Road Booster Station.
The exact path in Camden and Gloucester Counties has not been ironed out; hearings are still to come. The pipe will have to cross through crowded Cherry Hill, then make a turn west through some point in the Black Horse Pike and White Horse Pike corridors. One offshoot of the line will run due north toward the company's main station in Haddon Heights. Another will reach for Deptford, forking there into two lines aimed at Woodbury and booming Washington Township.
Delran Resident Poring Over RainwaterSource: https://web.archive.org/web/20150920202319/http://articles.philly.com/1989-07-23/news/26135143_1_acid-rain-pinelands-sulfur
By Stephen Keating, Special to The InquirerPosted: July 23, 1989
Mark Morgan has trouble explaining acid rain to his 6-year-old son Gregory. ''He can't quite figure it out - that it's not just water," said Morgan, who lives in Delran.
A biology professor at Rutgers University-Camden, Morgan spends much of his research time divining exactly what else is in the rainwater that tumbles into the Pinelands - a project that recently was awarded an $18,000 grant from the U.S. Department of the Interior.
Morgan grew up in California and earned both a bachelor's degree in science and a doctorate in ecology at the University of California at Davis. In between, he earned a master's degree from the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee, where he also met his wife, Margaret, an economist who works at the accounting firm of Coopers-Lybrand in Philadelphia. They have two children, Daniel, 2, and Gregory.
Since 1981, when he arrived at Rutgers to teach biology, Morgan began studying the Pinelands, looking first at the effects of residential development and, for the last five years, at acid rain.
Coined in the mid-1970s, the term acid rain refers to the presence of sulfur, nitrogen, chlorides, phosphates and heavy metals in rainwater, much of which is caused by car and factory air pollution. Acid rainwater can wash away certain plant life and already has hurt fish populations in the Adirondacks and upper Appalachians.
"This latest grant has to do with sulfur, in particular how it's used in the (Pinelands) ecosystem," Morgan said, explaining that the wetlands seem to act as a sulfur filter for the streams, often giving rise to the rotten-egg smell of swamps.
"This is a good year for study," he added, "because the rainfall has been heavier than in the past." Once a week, rainwater samples are taken from the Pinelands and run through a gas chromatograph to determine their content.
"The difficulty in studying the effects of acid rain on the Pinelands is that the area is naturally acidic," Morgan said. Nonetheless, he said previous information indicates that pollution controls in recent years are effective, and further controls, such as the ones proposed by President Bush, could do even more.*
Burlington City lawyer Kenneth S. Domzalski may have a tough row to hoe.
As the newly elected president of the Burlington County Bar Association, Domzalski would like to recast the image of lawyers as money-hungry barristers preying on clients' misfortune.
"I know a lot of lawyers who give of their time, who are committed to public service," said Domzalski, ticking off school programs, counseling efforts and free professional work done by bar association lawyers as an indication of their giving back to the community.
Domzalski recently was re-elected to the Medford Board of Education and is vice chairman of the Medford Democratic Committee.
A bar association member since 1975, Domzalski gained the presidency in June after holding all of the lower offices of the 575-member association.
A major issue facing the association, Domzalski said, is the 1990 appointment by the State Supreme Court of a successor to Superior Court Judge Martin Haynes, who is assignment judge for Burlington County. Haynes is to retire next year at age 70.
"Judge Haynes brought the bar association in as partners in administration of the courts, and we hope we can continue that relationship with the new appointee," Domzalski said.
Born in Philadelphia, Domzalski, 40, grew up in Delran and has lived in Burlington County ever since. He attended Holy Cross High School in Delran, then La Salle University in Philadelphia, where he earned a bachelor's degree in political science.
He graduated in 1974 from Rutgers Law School, after which he began his practice. Five years ago, he became a partner in the law firm of Bookbinder, Guest and Domzalski, where he specializes in matrimonial, municipal and real estate work.
"My philosophy is to do my work 10 or 12 hours a day Monday through Friday, but the weekends are for my family," said Domzalski. He and his wife, Mary, have two children, Meredith, 10, and Stanley, 7.
The day after her opening-night performance in The King and I at the Ritz Theater in Oaklyn, 12-year-old Sonia Pinto from Indian Mills related one of those anecdotes peculiar to show business.
"We're supposed to be Asians," she said of her role as one of the wives in the chorus, "and we're having a party with the Europeans and the King. We have to bow in our dresses, and our undergarments showed. It was pretty funny," she said.
The seventh grader is learning early how to handle such situations as she pursues her desire to sing, dance and act her way into commercials, TV shows and movies.
"When you're younger, you get more chances for commercials, and I'm always looking for more jobs so I can become better and better," said the soprano, whose night-table reading alternates between Sweet Valley High books and the theater publication Backstage.
Last month, Pinto won the privately sponsored regional Miss Hemisphere Tri- State Teen Talent Contest in Wilmington. She beat out 14 other contestants from the Delaware Valley by singing a medley of Marvin Hamlisch songs and presenting a radio spot she'd performed at her father's Voorhees restaurant.
Unfortunately, this summer's acting commitments, including practice for September's performance of Oliver with the Pinelands Players at Shawnee High School, will prevent Pinto from competing in the nationwide Miss Hemisphere contest at Miami Beach next month.
She said she is hoping to compete at next year's pageant, but until then is satisfied with performing when the opportunity arises.
While on a cruise in the Bahamas last year, for example, Pinto was asked to appear in a Disney TV Easter special starring Alan Thicke. "I appeared on the deck of the ship and was on the beach, dancing with Goofy," said Pinto, who enjoys acting because "it's fun being a different character, a whole new person."
Of course, when the performance is over, she becomes herself again. So after opening night of The King and I, her proud parents took her to Friendly's for ice cream.
At the June 5 meeting of the Delanco Township Committee, the two people who received the township's annual community service awards were a bit surprised by the recognition.
"It's nice to know what you do is appreciated," said retired Army Col. Edward A. Reynolds, 59, Delanco's emergency management coordinator.
He also puts in 24 hours a week in a paid position, training firefighters at the Burlington County Fire Academy in Westampton. "Being retired gives you time to devote to other things," he said, "and I love to teach."
A veteran of the Korean War, Reynolds also has seen his share of civilian emergencies, acting as military operations officer during the 1977 Johnstown flood and as assistant Army operations officer during the Three Mile Island incident. His involvement with emergency service can be traced to when he was 16 and he volunteered for the fire company in his home town of Oreland, Pa.
For most of his life, Reynolds has resided in Delanco, raising three daughters with his wife, Margaret.
"Delanco's fortunate that we've not had any major emergencies in the past 50 years," Reynolds said, "but we're primed for it."
Also given an award by the township was Donna Snow, a lifelong Delanco resident. She began volunteering in community sporting pursuits about five years ago when her two children came of school age.
As secretary for the year-old Delanco Sports Association, she also has been involved in raising funds to build a concession stand at the West Avenue Little League ballfield. Previously, she coached girls' softball for five years and helped organize the May carnival to benefit St. Peter's Roman Catholic Church in Riverside.
Most impressive is an event Snow put together last year - a charity softball game between members of the Philadelphia Flyers and the Sports Association. The game raised $7,400 to help pay for Delanco resident Jamie Tracy's leukemia treatments. "It really brought our community together," she said.
Mt. Laurel Pipeline OkdSource: https://web.archive.org/web/20151222074755/http://articles.philly.com/1989-10-17/news/26117003_1_water-pipeline-water-line-okd
By David M. Krakow, Special to The InquirerPosted: October 17, 1989
Mount Laurel Township Council last night approved an ordinance authorizing the New Jersey-American Water Co. to construct a water pipeline that will serve Mount Laurel and several other communities in Camden, Burlington and Gloucester Counties.
The pipeline, which officials said will serve between 50 and 70 municipalities, is scheduled to be completed by 1994 at a cost of about $65 million, according to Mike Battaglia, a pipeline design engineer. A water treatment plant to be built in Delran will cost $65 million to $70 million more.
New Jersey-American, located in Haddon Heights, will pay for the pipeline and treatment plant and will recoup its costs from user fees, which will be set by the state Board of Public Utilities.
Mount Laurel's council approved its ordinance on first reading in early May, but postponed a hearing for final approval when it was learned that three residents near the site of the proposed pipeline said they were not informed about plans for the water line. Company officials expect to receive all local approvals by the end of 1990. Construction of the pipeline will begin by the fall, Battaglia said.
Dirty Work Of Cleaning UpSource: https://web.archive.org/web/20150922134257/http://articles.philly.com/1990-07-04/news/25899200_1_fines-sewer-plants-clean-water-act
By Douglas A. Campbell, Inquirer Staff WriterPosted: July 04, 1990
Along the Delaware River in Burlington County, wherever there are towns, plumes of treated sewage fan into the tides that wash this 22-mile stretch of water.
In addition, the sewer plants of other towns empty into the Delaware's major tributaries: the Rancocas Creek, the Pennsauken Creek and smaller streams.
That same stretch of the Delaware is used each weekend by hundreds of boaters, fishermen, waterskiers and bathers. It serves as a water supply for Philadelphia and is the planned source for a huge pipeline that will take water to Camden County.
As long as the sewage that enters the Delaware is properly treated, it is harmless to those using the river, according to environmental officials.
But at times, the sewer plants have dumped wastes into the river that should not have gone there.
In the last two years, state and federal fines against 17 Burlington County communities have amounted to nearly $1 million for past and anticipated violations of the federal Clean Water Act.
In two more years, however, all of those towns are scheduled to make a clean break from their polluting past.
State and federal environmental agencies, employing an arm-twisting program that included the fines and consent orders, have persuaded all of the communities with inadequate sewage-treatment facilities to improve them by 1992. Some of the work is nearly completed. Other improvements are only on the drawing board.
But Richard T. Paull, the state official handing out many of the fines, is pleased with the progress. For example, Maple Shade's new state-of-the-art plant was scheduled to go on line yesterday.
"They (the communities) are committing large sums of money to do these things," said Paull, acting section chief for surface water and sewer-system enforcement for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.
The DEP and the federal Environmental Protection Agency are working in tandem to pressure communities to clean up their sewerage facilities, and a few municipal officials admitted that they never would have acted if they had not been hit with hefty fines.
"The tactic the state took by laying a fine out gets your attention," said Ralph J. Ragomo Sr., a borough councilman in Riverton, which has paid a $12,500 penalty.
Some municipal officials who have faced stiff penalties from the state and federal agencies have complained they were snared by a bureaucratic paradox: One branch of the DEP delayed their improving sewerage facilities while another imposed fines because their old plants polluted.
Richard D. L. Fulton, a DEP spokesman, said the complaints might be valid.
The efforts of the DEP's enforcement branch and its permitting offices should "coincide," Fulton said, "but they don't always."
Communities can appeal fines (Delran has balked at paying a $30,000 fine), but none has suggested that improved sewage-treatment was not necessary.
Across New Jersey, the state has collected $1.5 million in fines, Paull said. But more important, $1.4 billion has been committed by plant operators to making improvements, he said.
Camden County's municipalities have all agreed to join a countywide system, and no towns have been fined, according to Eugene Callahan, section chief of the DEP's southern bureau of regional enforcement. In Gloucester County, only Greenwich Township was penalized, he said. The other municipalities are already connected to regional sewerage.
Paull explained that municipalities had been given plenty of warning before they were fined. An amendment to the Clean Water Act required sewage-treatment plant operators to meet more stringent discharge standards by April 25, 1977.
That requirement was postponed by Congress until 1982 and again until 1988, and many plant operators thought it would be postponed even further, Paull said.
"But, lo and behold, it wasn't," Paull said. And when the state and federal agencies saw that plant operators were going to fail to meet the standards for 1988, they geared up an enforcement policy to nudge the operators.
In 1987, the DEP began issuing notices of civil penalties and asking the plant operators to sign administrative consent orders agreeing to make improvements. Mobile home parks and school districts that operate treatment plants were subjected to the same pressures.
By July 1, 1988, every Burlington County town, except Delran, that had been put on notice by the DEP had signed either an administrative consent order or a judicial consent order, agreeing to improve its sewage-treatment facilities, Paull said.
And at that time, most had negotiated fines ranging between $1,000 and $85,000. The fines represented past violations of the Clean Water Act as well as the violations that would occur before a new plant could be built or improvements could be made on the existing facilities, Paull said.
Those improvements will take more of the solids out of the effluent and will disinfect the liquid before it is discharged. The cleaner the effluent, the less bacteria there will be in the river, since bacteria naturally multiply to consume the increased organic matter in the water.
"You take raw sewage and discharge it into a body of water, a lot of organisms are going to be needed to break down that stuff, and they're going to need oxygen," Paull said.
If the sewage is treated properly, fewer organisms will feed on it in the Delaware River, and so the river's normal aquatic life faces less competition for the river's oxygen.
Evesham was well along in the process of making improvements to its Elmwood sewage plant when the state slapped it with a $25,000 penalty, said Edward A. Kondracki, solicitor for the township's Municipal Utilities Authority.
"We were caught up in a regulatory delay process," Kondracki said.
"For a long time, the DEP sat on the information we submitted" to prepare for improving the treatment facility, Kondracki said. "There was one point in time they were going to perform a stream modeling study . . . they had agreed in writing," he said. "We waited for about two years for them to complete the study. They never started it. They said they didn't have the funds to do it and that we were to do the study.
"You can tell the people in enforcement all day long that you are in delay because of the regulatory part of it, and for the most part, they don't want to hear about it," Kondracki said.
Willingboro faced a similar problem. It is in the midst of an $11 million upgrading that will be completed in 1991 but that was begun in the 1970s. The township was fined $24,375 by the DEP.
After the township had told the state it wanted to build a sewer plant, the state ordered it to wait until a study was completed to determine whether the municipality should be part of a regional system, according to Harry F. Killian, executive director of the Willingboro Municipal Utilities Authority.
That study, which took until 1985, determined that Willingboro should follow its original plan, Killian said.
Besides setting the town up for a fine, Killian said, state "foot- dragging" cost Willingboro the 75 percent federal financing that was available before the Reagan administration eliminated the funds.
While Evesham and Willingboro were planning, officials in Riverside were putting off the inevitable.
Riverside's sewage-treatment facility was built in the 1940s, and the town knew it needed improvements.
"I guess over the course of the years, Riverside had had probably the lowest sewer rate if not in the United States, (then) in the state of New Jersey," said Robert Renshaw, chairman of the Riverside Sewerage Authority. ''Over the years, they could have increased it to get some kind of reserve to make planned expansion," he said, but the authority did nothing.
In 1987, the authority had to raise its rates, "which we were reluctant to do," to pay for bonds to finance $2 million in improvements that the town had finally decided to make, he said.
When the state imposed an $85,000 fine, Renshaw said, "we were in the process of actually doing what had to be done. It just didn't suit the DEP. They said even though we were upgrading, we still were in violation."
Riverside tried to protest the fine but backed down. "We were held hostage, and we signed" a consent order, Renshaw said. "If we didn't sign, we would have been fined more."
That has been the experience of Delran, according to Jack Foster, vice chairman of the Sewerage Authority.
Foster said that Delran was ordered three or four years ago in Burlington County Superior Court to improve its plant, and that it was attempting to comply. "We've been working on that for three years to try to get DEP approval."
Foster said the state suggested the town pay a $30,000 fine. The town responded by saying it would pay a $5,000 fine and admit no fault. The state then said the fine would be $99,000, he said.
"They create a situation," Foster said, "by taking forever to give us any kind of approval or denials. We go from one department to another department. A guy's sitting across the desk, and you can't talk to him because he's in another department."
Delran is contesting the fine, Foster said, and the township has not signed a consent order. Work on improvements to the existing system is stalled, he said.
Two Burlington County municipalities, Medford Township and Mount Holly, escaped the DEP's first wave of penalties because their treatment plants were meeting water quality standards in 1987. But their luck has run out because they both have begun to violate the standards imposed on their plants.
Compounding the towns' problems, the state has raised the limit on fines the DEP can impose from $5,000 per violation to $50,000. Mount Holly and Medford are negotiating consent orders with the state.
Burlington Township agreed to make improvements on its treatment facilities by 1992, and it paid the DEP a $25,000 fine in 1988, a fact that sits uneasily with John Pinto, the township's director of public works and utilities.
"I think it was ridiculous," Pinto said. "That money could have been spent on upgrading the plant rather than giving $25,000 to the state."
But Pinto conceded that the state's efforts made the township move. ''You're talking millions and millions of dollars to upgrade these plants, and until you're forced to do it, you'll hold off as long as you can."
SEWERS AT ISSUE
Among Burlington County's 40 municipalities, these 17 have been cited for violations of the federal Clean Water Act. Some have been fined and have signed consent orders; some are negotiating fines or consent orders.
Burlington City signed consent order with $25,000 penalty.
Burlington Township signed consent order with $25,000 penalty.
Bordentown signed judicial consent decree before 1988 crackdown, no fine.
Cinnaminson signed consent order with $62,240 penalty.
Delran no consent order signed; $99,000 penalty contested.
Evesham signed consent order with $25,000 penalty.
Mansfield Homestead at Mansfield housing development working on consent order.
Maple Shade signed consent order with EPA with $75,000 penalty.
Medford Lakes is negotiating a consent order with DEP.
Medford Township negotiating consent order and $191,250 penalty with DEP.
Moorestown negotiated but has not signed an EPA consent order with $75,000 penalty.
Mount Holly negotiating a consent order and a $490,250 penalty with the DEP.
Palmyra signed consent order with $20,000 penalty.
Riverside signed consent order with $85,000 penalty.
Riverton signed consent order with $12,500 penalty.
Willingboro no consent order but $24,375 penalty.
Wrightstown signed consent order with $7,500 penalty.
Epa Approves Ground-water Cleanup Site Straddles Cinnaminson And DelranSource: http://articles.philly.com/1990-08-26/news/25934278_1_contamination-ground-water-ground-water
By Bryon Kurzenabe, Special to The InquirerPosted: August 26, 1990
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has approved a $20.5 million plan to clean up the 400-acre Superfund ground-water contamination site that straddles Cinnaminson and Delran, according to federal officials.
Trevor Anderson, the EPA's project manager for the site, said last week that the cleanup was scheduled to begin in 1992 and would take about 30 years.
Developed in concert with the state Department of Environmental Protection, the plan is essentially a recycling system that will extract contaminated water from two underlying aquifers and return it to the ground as safe drinking water, Anderson said.
The EPA proposed the plan in May after it released the findings of a five- year study that determined the nature and extent of contamination. Although companies potentially liable for paying for the cleanup submitted recommendations, their comments did not weigh heavily on the agency's conclusions, officials said.
"Nothing has changed the remedy that we originally selected," Anderson said.
The EPA will release an official statement in October that will outline the plan in detail and respond to public comment, he said.
The site - ranked 415 out of 1,900 on the Superfund priorities list - consists of residential and industrial properties bounded by Union Landing Road, Route 130, River Road and Taylor's Lane. It was added to the Superfund list in 1984 after contaminants were detected and later shown to include arsenic, cyanide and vinyl chloride.
The toxins have penetrated the Potomac-Raritan-Magothy aquifer, the chief source of drinking water in the area. But Anderson said residents were not in danger because the contaminants had not spread southeast beyond Route 130, where wells are located at the intersections of New Albany and Parry Roads and Pomona and Riverton Roads.
David Marino, regional director of water-quality control for the American Water Works Service Co., parent company of the New Jersey American Water Co., said that no site-related contamination had been detected during monthly monitoring of the wells.
"If nothing is done (to ebb the flow), the contamination will eventually reach the wells," Marino said. The company has used the wells less frequently to discourage the flow of contamination from the site, he said.
Under the cleanup plan, water from the shallow aquifer beneath the site will be extracted over five years by 130 wells and sent to an on-site waste- treatment center. The deeper aquifer, part of the Potomac-Raritan-Magothy formation, will be tapped by seven 180-foot wells that will extract the toxic water for 30 years for treatment at the same center.
At the center, large amounts of lime will be added to the extracted ground water to lower the acidity level and force dissolved metals to recombine into solid particles, officials said. Volatile organic compounds will be isolated through a biological process in which they naturally bind to carbon.
Both byproducts - the resulting sludge - will be transported to an unspecified location for off-site disposal.
Using data gathered from 87 monitoring wells, the EPA discovered volatile organic and inorganic compounds in both aquifers in amounts up to 76 times higher than federal maximum levels for drinking water.
Waste Management of North America, based in Bensalem, Pa., owns two on-site landfills cited by the EPA as "the major source of ground-water contamination."
Frank Quirus, the company's Superfund coordinator, said the EPA had unfairly targeted the company. He said some prevalent contaminants could not be found in landfill leachate and, therefore, must be from another source.
"We recognize that (the landfills) are not the only source of potential problems out there," said Quirus, who said the company could be required to pay a disproportionate amount of the multimillion-dollar remedy.
Anderson said that financial liability would be addressed in a written summary that would accompany the agency's October statement.
In its investigation, the EPA also identified Del-Val Ink & Color, L & L Redi-Mix and the Hoeganaes Corp. as additional parties that could be forced to pay for the cleanup. Other sources of contamination include unlined slurry pits, underground storage tanks, septic systems and cooling ponds.
Retirement Dream Now A Toxic NightmareSource: http://articles.philly.com/1991-11-28/news/25769597_1_dump-site-ddt-environmental-protection-agency
By Sonia R. Lelii, Special to The InquirerPosted: November 28, 1991
After spending about 30 years practicing medicine, Rudolph C. Camishion planned to spend his retirement farming. He and his wife, Nancy, drove through the countryside looking for an Eden in which to spend their aging years.
Finally, they came upon Walton Farms, 37 acres in Delran along Creek Road, a tranquil and scenic location near Rancocas Creek where they wanted to build a house.
"I think it's a dream turned into a nightmare," Rudolph Camishion said recently.
The ordeal began about a year and a half after he bought the property in 1985, with a call from the state Department of Environmental Protection and Energy (DEPE) asking permission to inspect his land for possible hazardous- waste contamination.
"I didn't think they'd find anything," the 64-year-old surgeon said. "I was pretty shocked. When you think of a farm, you never think of toxic waste."
The Camishions bought the 37 acres for $190,000 from Henry R. Walton's children. Walton, who died in 1979, is the man who, federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officials suspect, either gave permission to dump hazardous material from a Moorestown pesticides manufacturer that ceased operations in 1979, or dumped it himself. Authorities believe that the contamination occurred between 1945 and 1952, when neither disposal regulations nor the EPA existed.
"All the dumping occurred when people did not know any better," said Don Graham, an EPA spokesman overseeing the cleanup. "It was accepted at the time; that is why we are having all the (environmental) problems today.
"For whatever reason, Walton took the material and dumped it on his property. You are going back to the 1940s, and 'the environment' is not what it is today. A lot of times, people didn't know what they were doing. It's all guesswork. What information we got was from anonymous sources."
In 1986, a source alerted the state DEPE that Walton Farms was once a dump site. Subsequent tests confirmed that excessive levels of DDT - a powdered pesticide outlawed in the 1960s because it endangered the ecosystem - were mixed into the soil on a half-acre of the farm. In addition, less-toxic DDT breakdown components were discovered, Graham said.
But the testing and cleanup process was halted after negotiations broke down between the DEPE and several corporations that had owned the pesticide manufacturer in various years, Graham said.
"At one point, the talks broke down. I don't know if it was a month after (the contamination was discovered) or if it was a year later," he added. ''All I know is, the State of New Jersey handed us the case and said, 'Please clean it up.' "
Graham said the DEPE referred the site to the EPA in January 1990. The EPA then declared it a short-term Superfund cleanup area, through the removal program for sites that pose a substantial danger to the public and environment but are not considered a national priority.
And in October 1991, EPA officials signed an agreement with PPG Industries, which owned the pesticide company between 1949 and 1963, to pay an estimated $2 million to clean up the site, Graham said. The $2 million is considered a lowball estimate, Graham said.
Although PPG sold the company to Pulverizing Services Inc., PPG was considered primarily responsible for the cleanup because the firm owned the company when a majority of the dumping occurred.
EPA officials said last week that they believed Walton was an employee of Pulverizing Services, whose Moorestown grounds also make up an EPA hazardous waste Superfund site. The powdered pesticides were dumped in a drainage ditch near the creek on Walton's farm.
PPG has fenced off the area and is expected to announce this week the extent of the contamination from tests conducted on soil, water, groundwater and sediment samples. EPA officials said the site was scheduled for cleanup beginning in the spring of 1993.
"We don't suspect any surprises; it seems to be a defined area," Graham said. "If there is contamination beyond the scope that we anticipated, then it will have to be moved into the remedial phase (for hazardous sites considered national priorities)," Graham said.
The Camishions are in limbo.
They incurred legal fees while proving that they were innocent landowners who obtained the land with no knowledge that it was a toxic dump site. They have suspended plans to build a retirement home, because the location is the area that the EPA and PPG must clean.
"This (buying a farm) was something we had anticipated for a long time. . . . It turned out to be a nightmare," Rudolph Camishion said. "It's cost me money. Money I prefered not to spend . . . money I could have used to build a house. All the enthusiasm I had has been jolted."
Cleanup Of Ddt Begins This Week At Walton FarmsSource: http://articles.philly.com/1992-03-08/news/26019915_1_ddt-contamination-dump-site
By Sonia R. Lelii, SPECIAL TO THE INQUIRERPosted: March 08, 1992
Equipment to clean up the DDT-contaminated Walton Farms along the Rancocas Creek in Delran will be mobilized this week and excavation will begin soon after, an official of the federal Environmental Protection Agency said last week.
Testing of soil, groundwater and sediments in the creek was concluded last month, revealing that a larger portion of the farm than originally expected contained the pesticide DDT, which was outlawed in the 1960s because it was considered dangerous to the ecosystem.
"We didn't find any surprises as to what was there, only how much was there," said Don Graham, EPA's on-site coordinator. "We have a contaminated area that is about twice the size" - an acre.
The studies showed that the contamination is shallow in some sections of the soil and that the maximum depth of contamination is between five and six feet. Sediments - mud at the bottom of the Rancocas Creek - also were found to be contaminated.
Graham said that the damaged soil would be excavated and that about 80 percent would be transported to a landfill out of state. The rest, which contains a higher degree of contamination, will be incinerated.
The contamination was discovered in the mid-1980s, but cleanup plans could not be concluded until the EPA determined whom to hold responsible.
The present owner of the property, Rudolph C. Camishion, of Riverton, said he did not know the farmland was used as a dump site more than 40 years ago when he paid $190,000 to buy it in 1985 from the children of Henry R. Walton. Camishion, a surgeon, said he and his wife intended to build a retirement home on the tranquil stretch of land along Creek Road.
An anonymous source alerted state environmental officials to the potential contamination, and tests determined that DDT, a powdered pesticide, was mixed into the soil on at least a half-acre. Less-toxic DDT components also were discovered, officials said.
Officials surmise that Walton either gave permission to a Moorestown pesticides manufacturer, then called Pulverizing Services Inc., to dump the toxic chemicals on the farm or he unwittingly contaminated the property by his own hand.
Graham said Pittsburgh Plate & Glass Industries (PPG) was footing the entire cleanup bill, estimated at between $3 million and $5 million. Most of the contamination occurred sometime between 1945 and 1952, officials said, and PPG owned Pulverizing Services from 1949 to 1963.
The state Department of Environmental Protection and Energy proceeded in the late 1980s to negotiate with PPG and several other corporations that at different times owned the site.
In January 1990, the state agency referred the site to the EPA, which declared the area a short-term Superfund cleanup area - posing a substantial danger to the public and environment, but not considered a national priority.
In October 1991, EPA officials signed an agreement with PPG - considered to be the company primarily responsible for the dumping - to pay to clean up the farm. PPG has contracted the IT Corp., a national environmental firm, to conduct the preliminary environment investigation and manage the cleanup, which is expected to last until June.
Sewer-rate Protest Wins PointsSource: http://articles.philly.com/1992-03-15/news/26015901_1_sewer-rates-spending-increases-engineering-costs
By Josh Zimmer, SPECIAL TO THE INQUIRERPosted: March 15, 1992
Sewer rates increased 38 percent last year. They are to increase 44 percent for next year. Enough's enough, residents told the Delran Sewerage Authority last week.
It's worse that the authority's operating expenses are bloated by overestimates, many of the 200 residents at the authority's meeting Monday said. They cited a sludge-disposal contract for $187,200 that was budgeted at $252,000.
"How can you justify passing on these kinds of increases?" asked Brian McDermott, founder of Delran Citizens for Responsible Government and organizer of a petition asking for "full disclosure" of the reasons for the spending increases. More than 2,000 of Delran's 15,000 residents have signed the petition.
"I don't want you people to have the excess dough so you can bury it in the general fund," resident Joe Lehmann Sr. said.
"No effort is being made to keep costs down," McDermott said after the meeting. "I'm not asking them to be ridiculous in estimates on cost. I want them to be close to the actual. I think that's fair."
The authority's $1.68 million budget for 1992-93, adopted Feb. 10, is 14 percent higher than last year's $1.47 million. For next year, the minimum annual charges would rise from $163 to $236.
According to McDermott, sludge-removal expenditures will increase 80 percent, legal expenses will rise 102 percent, engineering costs will rise 108 percent, and the Riverside Sewerage Authority - which shares its sewer lines with Delran - will receive 109 percent more in fees, up from $71,634 to $150,000.
McDermott, an insurance broker, also asked why engineering fees since August 1988 had totaled $1.13 million. He suggested that there was a conflict of interest involved because the authority's engineers and lawyers have contributed hundreds of dollars to the election campaigns of its members.
Residents also questioned the free health-care insurance coverage most of the authority's five members receive. The practice costs an average of $6,667 per person.
"Effective immediately, I am going to relinquish my health care," member John Hewko responded to wild applause. Hewko was joined by member Fran LaMonica.
Authority chairman Raymond Vranich, who does not avail himself of the free health insurance, said in an interview later that he would check into the legality of revising the budget. "They made a good effort. There were concerns raised, and we're going to look into them," Vranich said of the budget protesters.
But Vranich rejected charges of conflict of interest, saying such fund- raising "happens in every town."
He also blamed the state Department of Environmental Protection and Energy, which he said had increased its testing requirements and delayed the expansion of the township's wastewater plant, for some of the cost increases.
Revisions required by DEPE have raised the cost of the plant expansion - to process 2.5 million gallons per day - to $10 million. A $3.9 million bond issue was approved in 1988 for the expansion.
"I think under the conditions that are being imposed on the authority by DEPE, we are doing a good job. We had kept our rates down, and now, despite our increases, we are still among the average in the county," Vranich said in an interview Tuesday.
Township Council President Andrew Ritzie, responding to a request from the authority's secretary, James J. Gaughan, presented figures from a 1991 audit showing that Delran's sewer rates were slightly higher than those in Cinnaminson, Mount Laurel and Willingboro, but well below those of Evesham and Burlington, where the annual minimum charge is $446.
Delran Sewerage Official Ousted From His PostSource: http://articles.philly.com/1992-04-05/news/26004565_1_sewerage-authority-authority-members-million-bond-issue
By Josh Zimmer, SPECIAL TO THE INQUIRERPosted: April 05, 1992
The Delran Sewerage Authority has ousted its longtime secretary-treasurer, accusing him of being in league with a group protesting the authority's rate increase.
James "Jimmy" Gaughan, a former township mayor, had been chairman of the sewerage authority for eight years before he was appointed its secretary- treasurer seven years ago.
Gaughan had been giving information to Delran Citizens for Responsible Government, which is protesting this year's 42 percent rate increase.
While the information was meant to be public, authority members said they did not receive equally prompt access to it. In one case, chairman Raymond Vranich said, Gaughan gave the group a package from a bond underwriter before authority members had seen it.
"If it wasn't that our bookkeeper automatically makes copies, we wouldn't even have a copy of our own information," Vranich said in an interview. "I was very upset with that."
But Brian McDermott, who spearheads the citizens' group, said that "of all the people on the authority," Gaughan "was the most forthright."
The group has amassed the signatures of nearly 20 percent of the township's residents on a petition criticizing the authority's budget and demanding rate reductions. At a council meeting March 25, residents sharply criticized Gaughan's removal two days before, when the authority voted, 3-1, not to reappoint him.
Authority and township council officials said the schism had been widening for months, fueled by a perception among some that Gaughan exaggerated his role in running the waste-water treatment plant and in securing $10 million in state loans for finishing upgrades there.
"I've tried to get all the parties to reconcile their differences," council president Andrew Ritzie said last Sunday, but "I can't do anything about it. In my opinion, Jimmy had no chance to win."
Gaughan said election-year politics was behind his ouster. He will not be supporting Mayor Richard Knight, who is seeking a second four-year term, and is backing authority member John Hewko's mayoral campaign in the May 12 elections.
Hewko's was the only pro-Gaughan vote.
Knight and chairman Vranich denied that Gaughan's dismissal was political.
"I'm getting insulted and accused of a million things," Vranich said. ''What we were trying to do is to get Jimmy to come back to reality. He thinks he makes the decisions."
Gaughan said Knight, Ritzie and Councilman William Smock ignored for two years "papers I thought were very detrimental to the sewerage authority."
"They were hanging me out to dry," Gaughan said. He said the authority has mishandled the improvements to the treatment plant since the late 1980s. That's when Superior Court Judge L. Anthony Gibson ordered Delran to build more housing for people of low to moderate incomes. His order resulted in a $3.9 million bond issue to increase the capacity of the sewage-treatment plant.
Gaughan would not divulge the contents of a memo he said he sent Knight, Ritzie and Smock, saying he would disclose it only to the Local Finance Board of the state Division of Local Government Services.
The citizens' group has attacked the $1.2 million spent by the authority so far on engineering fees for the plant improvements. The authority has blamed changing regulations from the state Department of Environmental Protection and Energy for the costs.
In response to the uproar over the authority's rates, township business administrator Jeffrey S. Hatcher dispatched a letter Wednesday on the council's behalf asking the state Division of Local Government Services to scrutinize the authority's books. That's what Gaughan and McDermott are demanding, but special attention is unlikely.
"We do not have the staff in the division to go through 225 (sewerage authority) audits," Jay Johnston, Department of Community Affairs spokesman, said Wednesday.
Sewerage Authority Decides To Rescind Rate Hike Until JuneSource: http://articles.philly.com/1992-04-23/news/26003828_1_sewerage-authority-authority-meeting-rate-hike
By Josh Zimmer, INQUIRER CORRESPONDENTPosted: April 23, 1992
The Delran Sewerage Authority's decision to rescind a 42 percent rate increase until June has given residents the break they had demanded, but has made the controversial authority even more of a central issue in the May 12 elections.
Last week, Steve Ryan, the authority's temporary secretary-treasurer, announced that he had found an unexpected savings of $160,000 in the $1.69 million budget, adopted Feb. 10. He also anticipated $50,000 to $70,000 in new revenue. But once the June bill is paid, authority chairman Raymond Vranich said, rate-payers could face increases to fill any deficits caused by inadequate collections.
"If we have a shortfall, we're going to have a lot of problems down the road," Vranich said. Because the authority is scheduled to receive about $10 million in state and federal funds to complete an expansion at the township's wastewater-treatment plant, he said, the budget must stay balanced to maintain a good credit rating.
In June, Delran residents will receive one bill with two stubs, allowing them to pay their water taxes in two installments. More than 100 residents, making up the third consecutive large crowd to attend an authority meeting, greeted the decision with applause.
With May 12 elections for mayor and two council positions due, however, the authority's motives were suspected by some residents.
"It's all political," said Brian McDermott, leader of Delran Citizens for Responsible Government, which had campaigned against the rate increase.
"All they (the authority) had to do was find the fat and cut," McDermott said.
The rate increase would have raised the minimum bill, for the use of 40,000 gallons of water, from $163 to $236 per year.
Vranich is supporting Mayor Richard Knight's re-election campaign, while some of those who protested the rate increase are backing challenger John Hewko, a member of the sewerage authority.
Other residents were pleased and skeptical.
"How do you just throw it (the budget) out? I'm not sure if it's right or wrong," said Joan Major.
Vranich and Knight said the authority had acted competently from the beginning. They praised Ryan, who replaced James Gaughan as secretary- treasurer, and alleged that McDermott created a political issue of the authority budget for the purpose of opposing Knight.
On March 23, the authority refused to rehire Gaughan, a former Delran mayor and a former chairman of the sewerage authority, saying he had exaggerated his importance and had passed on authority information to McDermott without showing it to members first. McDermott said the citizens group could not have functioned without Gaughan's help.
Knight, who spoke in favor of a rate freeze and reforms before the authority's unanimous vote, rejected charges of political maneuvering on his part.
"Nothing could be further from the truth," he said.
Knight is seeking a third straight four-year term. He is opposed by Hewko and real estate consultant Tom DiLauro.
Knight reminded residents that he was in favor of bringing in an auditor from the state's Local Finance Board to look at the authority's finances, something Gaughan also has sought. Such an audit, however, is unlikely, said Jay Johnston, spokesman of the state Department of Community Affairs, because of a shortage of personnel.
DiLauro has made the authority one of his major campaign issues, last week calling it "the biggest scandal in town right now."
"They (Knight and his slate) are going to raise rates (in June), but they're more concerned with winning the election," DiLauro said.
Hewko voted for the rate increase and the rollback. He said last week he is left out of the decision-making process.
The Ddt Cleanup At Site In Delran Could Be WidenedSource: http://articles.philly.com/1992-05-17/news/26011603_1_ddt-cleanup-federal-superfund-site-epa-site-coordinator
By Josh Zimmer, INQUIRER CORRESPONDENTPosted: May 17, 1992
A $5 million to $6 million effort to remove tons of DDT-laden soil from a federal Superfund site in Delran is nearly complete, but could be just the first step in a wider cleanup, an official with the Environmental Protection Agency said Tuesday.
Refilling the present ditch with clean soil and returning the site to its original condition should begin early this week, said Don Graham, EPA site coordinator.
So far, about 12,500 tons of tainted soil at the Creek Road site have been sent to a landfill or await imminent incineration, Graham said. But because the state's testing in the late-1980s indicated that DDT also had contaminated sediment in adjacent Rancocas Creek, the 37-acre site known as Walton Farms could require more attention, he said.
A creek cleanup would be more complex, involving issues such as wetlands and wildlife, EPA spokesman Steve Katz said.
"We're going to have to give it more consideration," Katz said. "Whether there will be remediation is another thing.
"You're talking about a potential ecological problem (in the creek) as opposed to a public health problem (on the land)," said Katz. "We know there is no (human) exposure to it (creek DDT). We really don't see it as an immediate problem. Those are studies that can take two to three years."
Graham said there has been continuous on-site monitoring since the cleanup began six weeks ago, and DDT had not spread from the sediment to the water.
The feasibility of future action and who will be responsible for it is to be determined in discussions between the EPA and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and Energy. Graham said the DEPE's site remediation program office would get involved once the project is done.
Excavations at Walton Farms, named after former owner Henry R. Walton, began March 30 this year, about 14 months after the DEPE referred the site to the EPA. Security guards have watched the fenced-off site, which is now a 6- to 8-foot-deep ditch that reaches a width of 400 feet, Graham said.
About half the soil contained DDT at levels above 1,000 parts per million and will probably be sent for incineration in Illinois, Graham said.
It lies on site in large mounds covered with plastic.
Graham expected that backfilling the site and restoring the land to its original condition, part of an administrative consent order, would begin by early this week.
PPG Industries, based in Pittsburgh, is paying for the cleanup under the administrative consent order that it signed with the EPA. The cleanup has been about $2 million more expensive and up to three tons more extensive than originally expected, Graham said. PPG had bought the out-of-business Moorestown company that had produced the DDT.
Walton Farms attracted attention around mid-1986, nearly 18 months after Rudolph C. Camishion purchased it for $190,000. The Riverton surgeon had envisioned that his and his wife's retirement home would rest on the sedate tract.
At that time, an unnamed source told the state that Walton Farms had once been a dump. Testing confirmed the presence of DDT - a powerful pesticide that accumulates in animal fat and spreads through the ecosystem.
The EPA suspects that Walton, between 1945 and 1952, worked at the Moorestown company and agreed to deposit the DDT in a ditch on his property. Walton died in 1979.
Camishion, 65, said last week that he was "shocked" when he learned of the contamination.
He said he had received no reimbursement, but was still hoping to build his house there. Even if additional cleanup efforts are necessary, the EPA has indicated that the DDT is far enough away from the planned site of his home, he said.
The EPA has credited PPG Industries for cooperating and avoiding litigation over the cleanup. A spokesman for the company, which has rankled a local union by using non-union workers for the cleanup, said Tuesday that payments for any additional work at Walton Farms would depend on discussions with the EPA.
Ousted Delran Mayor Reflects, With Disappointment
By Josh Zimmer, INQUIRER CORRESPONDENTPosted: May 21, 1992
Delran Mayor Richard Knight, turned out of office last week by voters after eight years, blames his defeat on voter anger and frustration that he believes should not have been connected with his term. Knight remained combative several days after the election, saying he thought many voters had been influenced by his opponents to connect him with unpopular actions of the Delran Sewerage Authority.
"It's a misunderstanding to link me with it," Knight said Saturday. "It was the issue. I will always believe it was politically motivated."
Knight's mayoral opponents, Sewerage Authority member Jon Hewko and the victor, Tom DiLauro, who is employed by Consolidated Rail Corp., worked to link Knight to the controversy, which centered on a 42 percent rate adopted in February and rescinded in April.
Widespread anti-incumbency sentiment could not have helped Knight, either.
"Some people I talked to just wanted change," Councilwoman Mary Ann Rivell said Monday. Rivell did not run, and her at-large seat went to one of DiLauro's running mates.
"People are angry and frustrated," Knight said. "I still don't believe it's a good time to be an incumbent."
The days since his defeat gave Knight, a marketing executive with American Telephone & Telegraph in Philadelphia, time to reflect on his service as mayor. He said the job became increasingly difficult because of reductions in federal and state financial support. "It's not fun anymore," said Knight, who said he has a deep affinity for politics. "There's a sense of frustration and helplessness that you're not able to do the things that need to be done for your municipality because you don't have the level of support."
Knight lost his position at the hands of the largest voter turnout since 1976. He got 1,049 votes but lost by 113 votes to DiLauro.
Knight's running mates - Councilman Walter Shultz and Ethics Commission Chairman Joseph M. Otto - fell by even larger margins to DiLauro's team of Eileen McGonigle and Anthony Ogazalek Jr. Hewko ran alone and trailed with 718 votes.
Knight, who was a councilman from 1982 to 1984, said of looking back, ''It's a mixed feeling. . . . (I'm) very satisfied about the 10 years I put in as an elected officer and somewhat sad that I won't be able to do things for the township."
"I think it (Knight's defeat) was very deserving," former Mayor James Gaughan, former secretary-treasurer of the Sewerage Authority and a vigorous campaigner against Knight, said Sunday. Gaughan, who was not reappointed by the authority this year, said he thought Knight conspired to force him out and called Knight's last four years in office "a tragedy, because I thought he was a shining light years ago. I think he was a victim of his own arrogance. Some people just can't tolerate power." Many people who have worked with Knight as mayor gave him high marks for effort, accessibility and concern.
"I thought he was a good mayor," Council President Andrew Ritzie said Sunday. "He really and truly had Delran's interests at heart."
Under Knight's administration, Delran became less rural, more suburban.
According to Ritzie, "Dick was looking for the town to expand. He was in favor of promoting business in town . . . mainly to promote the tax base." Ritzie said he thought that Knight had largely succeeded.
Ritzie also credited Knight with arranging for affordable housing in town and attempting to unite residents on both sides of Route 130, which bisects the township. Knight said he was extremely skeptical that DiLauro's administration could follow through on its platform, which includes asking for the resignation of the Sewerage Authority, starting plastic recycling and eliminating health benefits for people appointed to township boards.
But Knight, who sees himself, and is seen, as very competitive, was lacking in follow-through himself this election, some observers say.
"I don't think he really got out and worked hard enough," Jack Foster, Democratic Town Committee chairman, said Monday. "I think he felt sure the people would recognize his services."
Delran Mayor-elect Is Unable To Change Sewerage Authority
By Josh Zimmer, INQUIRER CORRESPONDENTPosted: June 07, 1992
Delran's Mayor-elect Tom DiLauro was swept into office May 12 on a groundswell of discontent with the present administration, stemming largely from the beleaguered township Sewerage Authority.
Under public pressure, the authority rescinded in April a 42 percent rate increase. But the mistrust lingered, fed by two mayoral challengers - DiLauro and Jon Hewko - who made the controversy their top campaign issue.
Following his 113-vote victory over eight-year incumbent Richard Knight (who has sought a recount), DiLauro fulfilled a campaign promise election night by calling for the resignation of all five authority members.
Pledge discharged, nothing has changed since. The authority remains firmly intact.
Willing to resign? "Of course not," member Jack Foster said. "Right in the midst of building a new (treatment) plant? That would be the most stupid thing to do."
Foster was referring to an estimated $10 million plant expansion made necessary by the 1987 Mount Laurel II agreement. The settlement requires many townships to construct a certain percentage of low- and moderate-income housing.
The authority is racing to acquire by June 30 various permits and approvals needed to qualify for about $5 million in no-interest loans from the state's
Wastewater Trust Fund, Martin S. Sanders, senior project engineer, said Wednesday.
DiLauro never had the power to go beyond requesting the resignations, officials said. The changes he campaigned for could only come if a majority on the five-member Township Council, which has sole power over appointments, decides not to extend the current members' terms. An authority member also could be ousted if found guilty of corruption.
One member, Chairman Raymond Vranich, will be up for reappointment in February, but Foster is scheduled for reconsideration in February 1997, Council President Andrew Ritzie said.
"He (DiLauro) called for everyone's resignation because it sounded politically powerful, but what's going to go in its place?" said Hewko, an authority member whose platform advocated abolishing the body and privatizing its functions.
Authority member Fran LaMonica said Tuesday, "I just think he was misinformed, and by doing that (advocating resignations), he was misinforming the people."
DiLauro has greeted the authority's resistance with cynicism.
"Let's say I was disappointed but not surprised," DiLauro said Tuesday. ''It's obvious they haven't caught on to what the people of Delran want."
On Tuesday, DiLauro continued making references to Knight's alleged influence over the council's appointments to the authority and hammered away at what he called the authority's mismanagement and lack of concern for ratepayers.
"Let's replace the present authority (with one) that will be responsive to residents and taxpayers," DiLauro said.
DiLauro's win was buttressed by the landslide victories of his running mates, Eileen McGonigle and Anthony Ogozalek Jr. DiLauro said his supporters would have to be patient for opportunities to replace authority members, but it remains a mystery whether he will have the votes needed to make changes.
McGonigle and Ogozalek are registered Republicans, as is DiLauro. Henry Shinn, the council's only Republican now, said Tuesday he would not be taking sides.
Council President Ritzie said DiLauro is "going to find out that he doesn't have the kind of latitude people believe you have."
Vranich Resigns As Chairman He Was A Strong Voice On The Delran Sewerage Authority For 20 Years.Source: http://articles.philly.com/1992-07-02/news/26026309_1_authority-member-mayor-elect-rate-rollback
By Josh Zimmer, INQUIRER CORRESPONDENTPosted: July 02, 1992
The chairman of the beleaguered Delran Sewerage Authority, Raymond Vranich, resigned from the board last week.
In a letter to the Township Council dated June 24, Vranich, who was an authority member for 20 years and was re-elected chairman last year, said his resignation was effective immediately.
"The last few years, the work has been increasing and increasing. I just didn't think I had the time to put in," Vranich said in an interview Sunday. Vranich, married and the father of two children attending college, said the responsibilities of heading the authority were too time consuming.
He said his move was also influenced by frustration with the authority's four-year struggle that finally won the state Department of Environmental Protection and Energy's approval of a 1.5-million-gallons-per-day expansion of the township's treatment plant, and the aggravation of coming under constant attack from critics of the authority.
The authority passed a 42 percent rate increase in February and rescinded it in April after it was vociferously accused of being unresponsive to ratepayers.
"That's (unresponsiveness) one of the things that got people angry," said resident Brian McDermott, who spearheaded the movement for a rate rollback.
The controversy became the pivotal issue in this year's municipal election, eventually helping Mayor-elect Tom DiLauro defeat the eight-year incumbent, Richard Knight, on May 12.
Township Council President Andrew Ritzie suggested Monday that Vranich's manner had alienated some council members and that he might not have been reappointed to the authority in February.
Vranich said the public protest was motivated by election-year politics. He gave local activists credit for forcing greater scrutiny of authority operations, but said the criticism had made his $1,200-per-year job unpleasant.
He said his biggest contribution to the authority had been helping keep Delran's sewerage rates from rising above the county average, though he said rates would definitely increase in the future because of the plant's expansion.
"We're going to miss him. He's been a strong person on the authority," member Fran LaMonica said.
Vranich's five-year term was up for extension in February. Vice Chairman Ed Orfe will be acting chairman. Former Councilman Walter Shultz will fill the open seat until February.
Water Project Gets Variances In DelranSource: http://articles.philly.com/1993-03-19/news/25949143_1_water-treatment-drbc-spokesman-new-jersey-american-water
By Josh Zimmer, INQUIRER CORRESPONDENTPosted: March 19, 1993
DELRAN — For years, experts have told South Jersey residents not to take their water for granted. They have warned that rapid development has depleted and contaminated the Potomac-Raritan-Magothy Aquifer, which provides 75 percent of the area's water.
Many have suggested tapping into the Delaware River. And since 1988, the New Jersey-American Water Co., the area's largest supplier of water, has been proposing a project, now estimated to cost $136 million, to do just that.
With 89 permits under its belt, the company's Tri-County Water Supply Project took another step forward Wednesday night when the Delran Zoning Board tentatively approved a plan for a 100,000-square-foot treatment plant.
"(That's) one less approval we need," project manager Steven Tambini said afterward.
Along with the approval of the plan, which took place before a handful of residents, the board granted several variances concerning the height of fencing, setbacks, and the size of company signs. It will also allow the company to use water treatment chemicals that are prohibited in the industrial zone.
The company has 88 days to submit a revised plan that includes changes requested by Zoning Board Engineer Martin Sander.
The tri-county project envisions a 40-mile web of pipes extending through Burlington County into Camden and Gloucester Counties. It is being constructed with an eye both to the company's present customers - 300,000 people in 34 Burlington and Camden County municipalities - as well as others who rely on the aquifer.
Although new customers have yet to line up to purchase the water, New Jersey-American is confident they will, because of the deteriorating aquifers, spokesman Michael Chern said.
The project still needs approval from other townships along the proposed pipeline, Chern said, as well as from the state Department of Environmental Protection and Energy and the Delaware River Basin Commission.
That appears likely, because both agencies since the early 1980s have recommended a sharp reduction in the use of the PRM aquifer.
"The commission strongly endorses the use of both ground water and surface water" from the Delaware, said Christopher Roberts, DRBC spokesman. He said the DRBC was prepared to approve a water allocation permit to draw water from the river.
Maintaining the company's water supply has become expensive as the water levels drop and they become increasingly susceptible to groundwater contamination, largely from two widely used solvents - trichloroethylene and tetrachloroethylene - that are suspected carcinogens. According to Chern, New Jersey-American has spent $10 million in the last five years to improve water treatment at its wells.
While Philadelphia and some other communities along the Delaware already use its water, the tri-county project would be the first of its kind in Burlington, Camden and Gloucester Counties.
Construction of the pipeline, estimated to cost $70 million, is expected to begin in late spring or early summer, Chern said. Work on the $60 million to $70 million treatment plant, which would be on a 26-acre tract on Taylor's Lane, could begin by late fall.
Chern said the plant could be operating by 1996.
The plant would be fed by a pumping station in Cinnaminson, where two pipes would receive water from the river.
The plant would be able to handle up to 40 million gallons a day. New Jersey-American currently pumps 34 million gallons a day.
The company's average annual bill for water use is $261, Chern said. How much it would rise to pay for the new plant would depend on the number of users, he said.
Delran residents were primarily concerned Wednesday with the project's environmental effect and the effect the intake would have on the township's many marinas around Delran Harbor.
One resident, Percy Muetz, asked what effect the project would have on the river in terms of water depletion and marine life, asked Percy Muetz.
Project manager Tambini said the Delaware River had a flow of about 8,100 million gallons a day near the proposed station, so an intake of 40 million gallons a day would be a drop in the bucket. He also said the intake pipes would have tightly meshed screens to keep out young marine life.
In response to another question, Tambini told Gerry Savidge that the intake pipes would not create enough suction to threaten recreational use near the marinas.
Sewage Backups Creating A Stink In Delran Section Some Swede Run Residents Have Been Forced To Man The Pumps Or Leave Their Homes. And Two Township Bodies Can't Agree On Who Is At Fault.Source: https://web.archive.org/web/20150920051019/http://articles.philly.com/1993-04-18/news/25979298_1_sump-pumps-sewage-backups-sewer-authority
By Josh Zimmer, INQUIRER CORRESPONDENTPosted: April 18, 1993
DELRAN — During the last month, some residents of the Swede Run development have been living a homeowner's nightmare: Their comfortable homes have been transformed into unsanitary time bombs by sewage backups linked to heavy rain and snow.
Several times since the blizzard on March 13, rain and melting snow have overwhelmed the neighborhood sewer line, forcing residents to pump out smelly basements for hours on end.
One woman gave up vacation time for pumping time, and an embarrassed family next door had to go elsewhere to use the toilet.
"Did you ever go 14 to 18 hours without using your facilities?" asked Nicholas Carruolo of Hunter Drive. "We have to go to Cherry Hill to use my brother-in-law's facilities. We're in the dark ages."
A rainy weather report is a red flag for these nervous residents of Stevens and Hunter Drives.
"It's totally, totally disgusting. It's unfair, and it's not sanitary," said Margaret Assenheimer.
The county Board of Health and the state Department of Environmental Protection and Energy have expressed concern about untreated sewage directed into yards by temporary pumps the township sewer authority lent to residents.
For now, however, the state and county say the matter is in township hands.
The township, barraged by complaints from angry residents, is beginning to act. On Wednesday at 7 p.m., the sewer authority and the Township Council plan to hold a joint meeting in what could be the start of a bureaucratic battle over responsibility for solving a problem that could cost millions to fix.
"We're going to be working with Township Council to see what can be done about it," Authority Solicitor George Hulse said.
The authority and council agree that the backups are caused by storm water infiltrating the sewer system instead of storm drains. Between March 17 and April 10, the sewage treatment plant, which normally handles 1.3 million gallons, was over capacity every day.
But the two official bodies are much further apart on who is responsible.
Is it the 30-year-old underdrains and the sump pumps that were illegally connected to the system, as the authority maintains, or a combination of that and breakdowns in the authority's sewer lines?
The authority blames the backups on the illegal connections.
"We're convinced beyond doubt that the major volume of water comes from the underdrains and the sump pumps, all of which has been verified over the years," Hulse said.
Since handling storm water is not the authority's responsibility, the long- term situation is "a township problem," he said.
If the authority had its wish, the illegal connections would be removed, said Hulse. One step in that direction would be for the council to pass an ordinance similar to Moorestown's, allowing the authority to assess a surcharge on residents who have illegally connected sump pumps. Residents would also be penalized if they refused an inspection.
Moorestown Utilities Director Kenneth Jolley said the ordinance in his township had drastically reduced the flow of storm water into the township's plant.
The Delran authority doesn't have proof the sump pumps and underdrains are responsible, said Councilman Andrew Ritzie, the council's most vocal advocate for finding a remedy to the residential hardships.
Hulse "is unwilling to admit that any infiltration may be caused by leaks in his own system," Ritzie said. "Blaming it on something else does not (alleviate) the problem for residents. That's what the authority has been doing for years, and it has to stop."
The councilman proposes increasing the flow in emergencies by installing a pump into the Swede Run sewer main, which consists of 3,000 feet of 24-inch pipe. It's a short-term solution, he said, compared with getting rid of the illegal hookups.
Sewer Plans Advance For Millside Heights Reconstruction Of The System Could Begin Within Months. Residents Are Eager To Avoid Backups.Source: https://web.archive.org/web/20150907035910/http://articles.philly.com/1993-07-18/news/25976752_1_sump-pumps-storm-water-infiltration-sewerage-authority
By Josh Zimmer, INQUIRER CORRESPONDENTPosted: July 18, 1993
DELRAN — It's going to cost more than expected, a lot more, but the sewer system reconstruction that residents of Delran's Millside Heights section have wanted for years could get underway in months, an engineer with the Sewerage Authority said.
"I anticipate starting by the fall," said Martin Sander of Richard A. Alaimo Associates in Mount Holly. "I don't think anybody wants us to wait till the spring."
For years, residents have braced for smelly sewer backups every time there is a major rainfall. Sewers backed up again in Millside Heights as snow from the March blizzard melted, prompting residents to accuse the authority of neglect.
Under a tentative design plan, Sander said, about 1,000 homes would be diverted from the main sewer line in Millside Heights. A pumping station would be built near the intersection of Green Briar Drive and Haines Mill Road to pump sewage from the 1,000 homes through a new 5,500-foot line down Notre Dame Drive. The diversion, Sander said, should relieve pressure on the Millside Heights system.
The new line would connect to the 20-inch main that runs to the sewerage plant on River Drive.
Sander said the project would not begin until the authority could coordinate its construction schedule with any plans the township has for that area. Since the pumping station would be on Green Acres recreational land, the authority would have to reimburse the township with money or a piece of similar property, he said.
In April, the authority, relying on cost estimates from six or seven years ago, put a $500,000 price tag on revamping the system. The latest estimate is $1.8 million, which Sander blamed on increases in costs for construction and satisfying new regulations.
Some Millside Heights residents greeted the authority's decision to spend whatever is necessary with an "it's about time" attitude.
"They (the authority) have responded," Marge Assenheimer said, "but I'll believe it when I see the streets dug up and new pipes going in."
About 15 neighborhood homes built on land with a high water table have suffered constant backups.
While some storm-water infiltration of the sewers is due to cracks in the pipes, Sander said, the problem is worsened because some sump pumps have been illegally connected to the sewer system rather than to storm-water drains.
After the March blizzard, backups forced residents to use friends' and relatives' bathrooms and stay home from work to pump out basements.
The infuriated residents converged on the authority and the Township Council with demands for help. During a joint council-authority meeting in April, the authority agreed to reconfigure the system, but, in exchange, the Township Council agreed to approve a sump pump inspection ordinance.
Under the authority's proposal, authority officials would inspect homes put up for sale for illegal sump pump connections, authority Chairman Jack Foster said. If one is found, he said, the homeowner would have time to rectify the problem - or pay a hefty fine.
One thing is clear: The project will raise next year's sewer rates, Foster said. But since the authority doesn't know the project's final cost, Foster could not specify how much the increase would be. The current minimum residential rate is $177 a year for up to 24,000 gallons used, $1.95 per 1,000 gallons beyond that.
N.j. Towns Eye Pipeline Warily It Will Ensure The Local Water Supply. It May Also Raise Bills.Source: https://web.archive.org/web/20150922054913/http://articles.philly.com/1993-08-08/news/25968170_1_higher-water-rates-local-water-supply-water-allocation
By Edward Colimore, INQUIRER STAFF WRITERPosted: August 08, 1993
The milling machine gobbled asphalt as it crept down Kresson Road in Cherry Hill. Behind it, a huge backhoe gouged a six-foot trench and lowered a 20-inch iron pipe into place. Then, its clawed scoop dumped gravel and soil over the hole, and a small, remote-controlled compactor pushed it down.
Like a steadily moving train, the pipeline express rolled across South Jersey last week. It was laying lines that will carry treated water from the Delaware River to Camden, Burlington and Gloucester Counties, and augment diminishing groundwater supplies.
Whether they like it or not, many towns will have to tie into the pipeline in 1995 because of legislation signed by Gov. Florio last month that sets limits on withdrawals from the region's primary groundwater source, the sprawling Potomac-Raritan-Magothy aquifer.
The aquifer level has dropped about two feet a year and is so low in some places that salt water has crept in from the ocean and underground sources. The salt problem has been reported in Gloucester, Cumberland and Salem Counties. Eventually, things could get so bad the aquifer will no longer be a source of water.
The problem now is signing up the towns and finding out how much water they'll need. The New Jersey-American Water Co. will meet with representatives of more than 20 towns this summer and autumn to assess the demand while it builds the system.
"We don't know what the water will cost until we know how much water is needed," said Howard Woods, vice president of the company and manager of the Tricounty Water Supply Project. "We also don't know how big to build the treatment plant. So these meetings are important to us."
Many towns are reluctant to tap into the pipeline, fearing higher water rates and the loss of autonomy. But state officials say action must be taken because of the aquifer's dropping water level. This week, they were asking residents to conserve water because of this summer's rainfall shortage.
"The towns know exactly what they have to do," said Richard Kropp, chief of the Bureau of Water Allocation of the state Department of Environmental Protection and Energy. "They're hesitant about change, but it's coming whether they like it or not.
"The towns are going to have to get their water somewhere. And for most of them, there is no alternative but the pipeline."
Kropp said the cost of that pipeline - the cost of treating millions of gallons of water from the Delaware River and moving it across South Jersey - is going to increase utility bills.
"The debate is over how much," he said. "The towns don't want to say how much water they want until they know the price. What towns are getting the water and how much they're getting is going to drive the cost.
"If most of the customers are at the end of the line, that could make it costlier. The farther you move water, the costlier it gets."
Kropp said the state had asked New Jersey-American to give the towns a range of costs, based on different amounts of water usage. "That will show (the towns) that the more that's bought, the lower the per-gallon price will be," he said.
But the company can't unilaterally set the price of the water, Woods said, no more than other utilities can set prices. The cost of the water will be regulated by the state Board of Regulatory Commissioners. But the board will make its decisions based partly on data provided by the company.
"We will look at what the project will cost and what we need to cover the cost of the capital and operating expenses, chemicals and labor," Woods said. ''We're a cost-recovery business."
The New Jersey-American Water Company began its $140 million construction project this year within its 88,000-customer service area, which covers most of Camden County and part of Burlington County.
It pumps water from the aquifer to customers in several communities, including Delran, Cherry Hill, Voorhees, Haddon Heights, Barrington, Magnolia and parts of Camden City.
Work is now underway on Kresson, Springdale and Evesham Roads in Camden County, and on Tom Brown Road in Burlington County. Construction has not begun in Gloucester County. About 5 percent of the work is finished. "The money for the new construction comes from stockholders and bondholders," Woods said.
Frank Impagliazzo, engineering manager for the water company, said the water intake for the new system would be at the end of Taylors Lane in Cinnaminson, and the new water treatment plant would be on Carriage Lane in Delran, about a mile from the river.
The groundbreaking for the plant is scheduled for next month.
"We're moving ahead on schedule," Impagliazzo said. "The biggest problem we have is making sure the treatment plant is big enough to meet the region's needs."
The new state legislation requires towns to reduce their pumping from the aquifer by an average of 22 percent by the time the pipeline is finished in 1995. Many towns are likely to continue pumping water from the aquifer - up to the limit - and making up the difference from the pipeline.
"The water levels in the aquifer are dropping . . ." Kropp said. "If that continues, there would be an emergency situation. You'd turn on the faucet and you wouldn't have water."
By 2000, New Jersey-American said, water levels would drop so low that it couldn't pump water out of the aquifer.
"Sooner or later the water level drops below the pump," Woods said. ''We've been taking more out of the aquifer than Mother Nature is replacing.
"We need an alternate water supply that allows us to reduce our dependence on the aquifer. If we just keep pumping water from the ground, we're not going to have any.
"The pipeline gets us to a point where the amount we pump out equals the amount that's replenished. It will protect the aquifer."
Breaking Ground For Water The Treatment Plant Will Be In Delran. It Should Ease The Drain On A Tri-county Aquifer.Source: http://articles.philly.com/1993-09-29/news/25984447_1_water-rates-water-plant-aquifer
By Tom Avril, INQUIRER CORRESPONDENTPosted: September 29, 1993
DELRAN — Amid praise from officials and fears from some potential customers, the New Jersey-American Water Co. yesterday broke ground for a $160 million treatment plant that will draw water from the Delaware River.
The plant is designed to ease the burden on the shrinking Potomac-Raritan- Magothy aquifer, which serves most of the towns in Burlington, Camden and Gloucester Counties.
But some residents are worried that water from the new plant will cost them more than water from the aquifer.
Company officials say that won't be the case, estimating that they will charge an average of $3.73 per 1,000 gallons. That figure is based on the assumption that the towns will use 20 million gallons daily, said company project manager Howard Woods. That rate is roughly comparable to what many towns now charge their residents, Woods said.
The utility already serves 88,000 customers in parts of Camden and Burlington Counties. An additional 31 towns in the tri-county area pump their own water from the aquifer. They must decide by the end of November if they wish to tap into the 40 miles of new pipeline scheduled for completion by the end of 1995.
But they may not have a choice.
That's because legislation signed this summer by Gov. Florio requires that the towns cut back their usage of the aquifer by about 21 percent by 1996.
The new law grew out of a 1986 state declaration that the three counties are a "critical area," with the water level shrinking by as much as 2 feet a year in some places. In southern Gloucester County, the level is so low that saltwater has begun to seep into the drinking water supply, Woods said.
"There's really no other source of water for most of the communities," said Richard Kropp, chief of the Bureau of Water Allocation of the state Department of Environmental Protection and Energy. "We looked at every option except dragging icebergs up the Delaware and melting them."
If a town refused to sign on with the utility, it would have to find water from other sources to make up for the 21 percent cutback, such as from the smaller Mount Laurel aquifer.
Mount Laurel is the only one of the 31 to sign a utility contract so far, but the towns didn't receive rate information until this month.
One town that appears to be a likely new customer for the utility is Brooklawn Borough, where water rates range from $6 to 7$ per 1,000 gallons, depending on the volume of usage.
But one town official said he wants to wait and see. Brooklawn needs the revenues from water rates to continue paying off the 20-year bonds it sold to build its own water plant in 1983, said William Packer, the public works chief.
Also, there is the issue of control.
"Naturally where you go to privatization you lose control," Packer said. ''When there's a problem late at night, these (local) people are there within five minutes. Do you get that from a big company?"
Utility officials countered that the towns are not losing their power to make decisions, since they still have to choose their water supply.
Environmentalists have mixed feelings about the project. Some have suggested that reducing the growth of the suburbs makes more sense than tapping into new water supplies.
"On the one hand, it'll deliver a water supply to an area that needs it," said Jane Nogaki, secretary of the New Jersey Environmental Federation. "On the other hand, the way it got to this point is overpumping of an aquifer, and that should send a message to us that our resources are not infinite.
"We're not worried about the Delaware River drying up. But the concept of using up one resource and then going on to the next is a kind of very shortsighted philosophy," she said.
22 Years After Ban, Ddt Fears The Toxic Pesticide Hasn't Been Legal Since '72. But Its Virulence Is Far From Vanishing.Source: https://web.archive.org/web/20160101100420/http://articles.philly.com/1994-12-12/news/25855814_1_ddt-toxic-chemical-pesticide
By Sandy Bauers, INQUIRER STAFF WRITERPosted: December 12, 1994
In its heyday, DDT was renowned as a pesticide with staying power.
Only now have scientists come to realize how much.
Twenty-two years after the nascent environmental movement scored its first significant coup with a national ban on the pesticide, DDT compounds are still here - working their way down the waterways and up the food chain.
Scientists once believed that there would be little trace of the toxic chemical left today. Now they say they are only beginning to assess the legacy of DDT, a carcinogen that researchers now suspect also curtails fertility.
"Everyone was lulled into a false sense of security" with the 1972 ban, said Rick Greene, an environmental engineer. "But these chemicals and nature do not obey politicians."
DDT, he said, "continues to be found in all environmental media - that includes the water, the soil, the sediments in our streams and waterways."
Al Heier, an Environmental Protection Agency spokesman who specializes in pesticide issues, said medical studies show that DDT "is still being carried by people and passed on through the placenta to newborns."
In a dark echo of the events that Rachel Carson described in her landmark book of the 1960s, Silent Spring, biologists have also begun to see renewed thinning of the eggshells in a colony of ospreys in Salem, N.J.
Kathleen Clark, principal zoologist for New Jersey Division of Fish, Game and Wildlife, Endangered and Non-Game Species Program, termed the thinning ''significant" and attributed it to DDT compounds, which have been found in high levels in fish the osprey eat.
Overall, the levels of DDT and its compounds are declining. But what remains is far more pervasive than scientists would have imagined two decades ago. Originally, scientists speculated DDT compounds would break down or dissipate in 20 or 30 years. Now, the length of time is "anybody's guess," said Heier.
"We thought we'd be rid of this stuff," said Greene, with the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control. "The fact is, we didn't know all we need to know about its fate in the environment."
If there is a lesson in all of this, they suggest, it is a familiar one: Society needs to be very careful when assessing the potential impact of chemicals introduced into the environment.
Today, PCBs and chlordane, other similar chemical contaminants, are more pervasive in area streams than DDT, making them an arguably more pressing concern to water quality and wildlife officials.
But DDT strikes closer to the national quick. And virtually anywhere researchers look, they find it.
Consider Chester County's pristine Valley and French Creeks. There's DDT in the sediment, U.S. Geological Survey samplings show.
The White Clay Watershed, being considered for inclusion in the national Wild and Scenic Rivers System? A draft report notes that DDT has been found in fish caught there.
A study this year of the Delaware estuary showed DDT contamination "higher than we had previously documented," said marine chemist Jonathan Sharp, of the University of Delaware, "but we didn't have an awful lot of information before."
The study showed the Delaware River had a higher concentration of DDTs than any other comparable river on the East Coast. Researchers have found increased levels of DDT compounds in white perch and catfish taken from some locations in the Delaware, which they have been monitoring since 1990.
Last year, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service contaminants study of Chester County's Red Clay Creek Watershed found alarmingly high levels of DDT compounds.
Mark Roberts, an environmental contaminants specialist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Pleasantville, N.J., is preparing data on the levels of DDT and PCBs in the blood and tissues of peregrine falcons and bald eagle chicks. He said preliminary conclusions showed that there were "levels of concern."
Biologists continue to worry about what happens along the food chain. Cindy Rice, an environmental contaminants specialist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in State College, poses the example of an orchard, which would have been heavily sprayed in the past: "Earthworms can now move back into the soil - it's not toxic to them anymore - but they can still accumulate enough DDT that they are poisonous to birds that feed on them."
Part of the difficulty in assessing the extent of the problem is that there are few baseline figures.
Other pollution problems have, until recently, been so much more ''blatant," Sharp said. "As things have gotten cleaned up, we've started into the next order of affairs," which is toxics.
DDT was first used as an insecticide in 1939. By 1961, 1,200 variations of the compound were available for use on 334 crops, according to the EPA. Banned in this country since 1972, it is still used elsewhere in the world.
Locally, pesticides containing DDT were manufactured for roughly 20 years at the Rohm & Haas Bridesburg plant in Philadelphia. Some of the chemical is still in the sediment in a sewer pipe leading to the Northeast Sewage Treatment Plant. Sludge from the pipe has to be put in landfills instead of composted because of the DDT contamination. In January, the company will begin a $10 million cleanup of the pipe, said company spokesman George Bochanski.
DDT also was manufactured at the J.T. Baker plant, on the Delaware River near Phillipsburg, across from Easton. The nearby river sediment was so contaminated that a coffer dam was built so it could be excavated.
DDT was buried on a Superfund site now known as Walton Farms in Delran, Burlington County. In 1992, workers trucked away 12,500 tons of contaminated soil.
Loretta O'Donnell, a spokeswoman for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, said environmental officials were still pondering what to do with DDT in the sediment of the adjacent Rancocas Creek.
In most situations, however, it's tough to point a finger to a specific source of DDT because the chemical was used so pervasively for so long.
Now and again, researchers suspect fresh use of the chemical. There are unsubstantiated claims of farmers having stockpiles or bringing in bootleg DDT from other countries.
Biologists suspect the DDT compounds affecting the osprey population in Salem may have migrated downstream. Either that, or it is coming from diked marshes that once were used as salt hay farms, which were heavily sprayed with DDT to kill mosquitoes. Now the dikes are breaking down, and biologists fear the DDT is being freed.
What can be done about DDT now? Very little, it seems, but wait.
"The legacy of DDT will be with us for many generations," said Delaware riverkeeper Cynthia Poten, who serves a watchdog function in the watershed. ''These chemicals are persistent. They don't biodegrade. So where are they going to go? There is no away."