Pinelands School District Gets Estimate for Bog Dam Replacement

Feb 27, 2019
Photo by: Pat Johnson The dam under Giffordtown Lane needs to be replaced. The Pinelands School district owns the bogs behind the school and were ordered to drain them by the NJDEP.

The Pinelands Regional School District owns the original wooden dam under Giffordtown Lane that holds back water of a series of bogs that have been ordered drained by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.

District Superintendent Melissa McCooley said the topic of replacing the dam has been an issue for about 20 years.

“The school district owns the dam, the township owns the pipe that goes under the road and the county owns the road. I don’t think we are responsible for the entire project,” she said in a telephone interview on Tuesday.

“Both John Bellone (school district plant manager) and myself have been working on this since the summer,” said McCooley. “What happens is, when the bogs flood, the water backs up into the drains and back up into the Commons area of the High School. And with all the construction we are doing, we don’t want that to happen again on our new floors.”

The Commons, an area where students gather during lunch and breaks, is inside Pinelands Regional High School.

“We did reach out to the county and township for help and they had their engineer do an estimate,” said McCooley.

Little Egg Harbor Township Administrator Matthew Spadaccini sent the results to McCooley last week. T& M Engineers said that in order to bring the dam into compliance with the NJDEP Dam Safety rules, it would cost between $155,000 and $280,000. T&M’s estimate included a survey of the dam and embankments, costing between $15,000 to $20,000; hydrologic and hydraulic studies, costing between $20,000 to $30,000; a conceptual design costing between $20,000 to $30,000; and construction and permitting, costing between $100,000 to $200,000.

“That’s a lot of money,” said McCooley. “So we’ve reached out to a local company, Corliss and Sons, for an estimate on how much just to fix the problem rather than redo the entire dam, and we are waiting on that. We do plan on repairing it.”

According to the estimate prepared by T&M, the cost may be higher if Dam Safety at the NJDEP requires a “downstream inundation analysis or the preparation of an emergency action plan.”

— Pat Johnson


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