Little Egg Harbor MUA to Build Water Treatment Facility

Feb 27, 2019
Photo by: Pat Johnson The new treatment plant will be built near the water tower on High Ridge Road in Little Egg Harbor. The tower will also be painted.

The Little Egg Harbor Municipal Utilities Authority has plans to build a new water treatment plant alongside the water tower on High Ridge Road. The plant is going to be a state-of-the-art treatment plant, said MUA Executive Director Earl Sutton.

“The plant has been eligible for funding from the New Jersey Infrastructure Trust since 2015,” said Sutton during a telephone interview. “Back in 2015 we began approval for a new well and plant off Otis Bog, but that was denied.”

There are already a well and two water tanks, one for high pressure and one for low pressure, at the site behind the Ocean County Library branch on Mathistown Road. The water tanks hold water from other wells, but that water has been treated elsewhere, at the MUA’s other plants.

“It makes sense to do it now because we can get unbelievable low interest rates from the New Jersey Infrastructure Trust (now Bank), 1.7 percent for 30 years,” said Sutton.

The well utilizes the 800 Atlantic City sand aquifer. “It’s good water, and the treatment plant will help with water pressure in that area of town.”

Sutton said additional development is not driving the building of the new treatment facility. “Little Egg has limited potential for growth,” he said. The plant is needed because “it greatly modernizes the system, it increases water pressure for fire suppression, and we can also use it as a backup system.”

The MUA already sent out one request for bids but received only one reply, so it re-bid the project on Feb. 26. They will open bids on March 26 and hope to be able to award a contract in April.

Residents on High Ridge Road should not be inconvenienced by the construction, said Sutton. “We’re cognizant of the noise ordinances; we’ll get in and get it done.”

The MUA also must paint all five water towers in the township. The water tower on High Ridge cost $580,000 to paint; the entire system will cost $3 million.

Sutton said Little Egg’s low water rates of $151 a quarter could increase by about $2 a quarter.

“It’s a minor increase considering all the work that we are doing. Not just Twin Lakes (where they have replaced water and sewer lines), but all of Mystic Island’s mains are 50 years old,” he noted. “How we keep costs down is we do so much work in-house, and we have an excellent crew.”

After Superstorm Sandy, the Little Egg Harbor MUA lost service to over 700 houses and businesses. In 2014, it applied for and received a $1.3 million Community Disaster Loan, and this past year it learned $1 million was “forgiven,” leaving only $300,000 to pay back. “This helped to offset expenses.”

— Pat Johnson

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