North Bergen is investing in its sewers, using federal COVID-19 recovery funds to do so. The township’s Board of Commissioners adopted a capital ordinance at its last meeting in December appropriating $550,000 for a local sewer improvement project.
Federal funds from the American Rescue Plan (ARP) are facilitating the sewer improvements as part of the 57th and Kennedy Boulevard Project. The township received a total of $17.8 million in ARP money.
Chief Financial Officer Robert Pittfield told the Hudson Reporter that the sewer improvements aim to address “a major sewer infrastructure problem” in that area.
“There is a major improvement occurring at 57th Street and Boulevard, by the Avalon project,” he said. Work has been ongoing for some time and now the project is nearing completion, Pittfield said. “It should be almost done.”
The project specifics entailed installing “bypass piping” to replace older sewer infrastructure.
“Bypass piping was required along with deep trench excavation of approximately 15 feet below grade in order to replace 120 linear feet of sewer piping, backfill compaction, and area restoration,” he said.
The improvements to the sewer infrastructure in the area aim to reduce combined sewer overflows and flooding, among other storm water management improvements.
The project is fully funded by ARP monies, according to Pittfield: “We’re going to use some of the ARP money we got to do those improvements to that infrastructure.”
In terms of ARP spending, this is the first time the township is utilizing the federal funds. However, Pittfield anticipates utilizing those funds for future sewer improvements as well.
“We haven’t spent anything yet,” he said. “This is our first expenditure, but I think what that our priorities will be sewer infrastructure improvements and the offset of revenue loss we are allowed to take in our budget… We are going to look at using some more money for other sewer and infrastructure improvements across the township.”
Other ARP spending will go toward dealing with revenue loss from COVID-19 as well as another type of infrastructure improvement. Details are still being worked out.
“We may consider also doing some fiber optic installations,” he said. “That may be in 2022 or 2023… As the months progress, I’ll be learning a lot more about specifically what it entails.”
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