Bayonne is asking for help financing its Long Term Control Plan to reduce Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs), or the flooding and spilling of untreated sewage into waterways during heavy rains.
The Bayonne City Council approved a resolution at its August meeting calling on Gov. Phil Murphy and the U.S. Congressional Delegation from New Jersey to provide economic relief to implement and construct its Long Term Control Plan.
The resolution states that the cost of the Long Term Control Plan “will place a severe economic burden on the residents of our Municipality as well as the other CSO Municipalities.” Thus, the city needs state and federal funds to carry out the plan.
Bayonne long term plan
Bayonne’s plan, to be implemented over 30 years, is estimated to cost $321 million. It aims to reduce local CSO volume by 73 percent, from 747.3 million gallons to 205.2 million gallons.
The first part of the plan calls for $12 million in improvements to the Oak Street Pumping Station, which would begin sometime this year and be complete by 2022.
A $23 million primary water main increase is slated to begin in 2023 and complete in 2025. The installation of a two-million-gallon storage tank at a CSO between Veterans Park and 16th Street Park totaling $32.2 million will take place simultaneously from 2023 to 2024. The site is being redeveloped, and while the developer plans to have .4 million gallons of storage, the plan calls for the installation of a two-million gallon tank for the hydraulic model.
The construction of a 3.2 million-gallon storage tank at a CSO near Costco at the former Military Ocean Terminal at Bayonne (MOTBY) for $47.5 million is slated for 2027, finishing in 2029. The plan calls for putting the tank under the parking lot of a nearby mixed-use development.
The next project on the timeline isn’t until 2036, with the installation of a 1.6 million-gallon storage tank at a CSO near Veterans Park for $26.8 million. The project is estimated to finish in 2036.
2040 and beyond
In 2040, a two-million-gallon tank at a CSO near the border of Bayonne and Jersey City for $32.2 million is set to finish in 2041. The site is on Port Authority of New York and New Jersey land and is slated to be placed under the existing parking lot to avoid disturbing the nearby beach and waterfront.
The last project is a whopping 11-million-gallon storage tank at CSOs at the old wastewater treatment plant for $131.6 million to be installed starting in 2045, to be completed in 2049. A total of 41 percent of the estimated $321 million is needed for the plan.
This CSO accounts for approximately 50 percent of the Bayonne overflow volume, so the plan calls for increasing storage. The existing tanks at the site will be repurposed to store overflow.
There will be three phases of funding for green infrastructure of $5.2 million each, totaling $15.6 million. Options consist of tree pits, pervious pavement, and underground detention basins, such as the one being installed at Fitzpatrick Park.
City cannot afford it
Depending on the amount of water discharged, the city can upgrade the Oak Street Pumping Station or renovate and increase the flow to the pump station and force main.
If the upgrades are made, the storage tank at the old wastewater treatment plant will have to hold 14 million gallons. Two additional storage tanks, one million gallons each, would have to be installed underneath the parking lot of Dennis Collins Park and underneath the tennis courts at 16th Street Park.
The options would result in the same price tag either way; the only difference is the size of the flow of water from the Oak Street Pumping Station. It would either be 17.6 million gallons per day under the reliability upgrade option or 27.8 million gallons per day under the increased flow plan.
According to the plan, the city can’t afford to implement all the projects identified. By 2030, median household income spent on wastewater services would surpass two percent, which the EPA classifies as a high burden on taxpayers. The rate was at approximately 1.2 percent in 2020.
Without outside assistance, the projects will be funded primarily from local tax revenue.
But the city may be able to avoid that fate by working with its neighbors. Bayonne is one of seven municipalities that are part of the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission (PVSC).
Most of the communities of the PVSC are looking to work on a Regional Long Term Control Plan, considering the cost could be in excess of $2 billion, according to the resolution. But if an agreement can’t be reached and a plan cannot be drawn up, the municipalities will revert to their individual plans.
The resolution asking for state and federal financial assistance will now be forwarded to Murphy and the state’s Congressional Delegation. Identical resolutions were passed by Hoboken in March of 2020, and Jersey City in April and September of 2020.
The council did not comment on the resolution at the meeting. Director of Municipal Services Tim Boyle applauded the passage of the resolution in an email.
“Municipalities throughout the state of New Jersey have rallied together to implore the federal government to provide funding to reduce the onerous costs associated with this federally mandated infrastructure upgrade,” Boyle told the Bayonne Community News.
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