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$1.9B Helps NJ Shore Up against Storms

Monday, August 31, 2015

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NJ Gov. Chris Christie recently signed legislation making up to $1.94 billion in state financing available for projects that would improve the drinking water and wastewater infrastructure in the state.

Building on failures experienced during the Superstorm Sandy event, this number includes $776 million earmarked for upgrades and measures that would protect facilities from future storms and flooding, the governor’s office announced Aug. 25.

State of New Jersey Office of the Governor

NJ has made $1.94 billion available for projects that would improve the drinking water and wastewater infrastructure in the state.

“There can be no compromise when it comes to the integrity of the State’s water infrastructure systems and the impact they have on our communities and our environment,” Christie said in a statement.

Rebuilding the Infrastructure

Since Sandy, numerous infrastructure projects have been in the works to build defenses against major storm events. These have included:

  • Replacement and hardening of pump stations;
  • Restoring and protecting key treatment and administrative facilities;
  • Construction of flood-protection walls and elevation of existing walls;
  • Ensuring protection of backup power generators;
  • Relocating infrastructure to safer ground; and
  • Construction of pumping systems to remove flood waters.

But there is more work to be done. Christie noted: “Through this legislation, more than 280 projects will be authorized for low-interest loans and no-interest financing that will make infrastructure throughout New Jersey more storm-resilient, enhance and protect the state’s water quality, and create jobs and advance economic development.”

These projects have been targeted by Christie for funding through the legislation:

  • $185 million for restoration of Middlesex County Utilities Authority’s Sayreville and Edison pump stations, including steps to safeguard against future flooding and upgrades to its wastewater treatment plant;
  • $78 million for repairs and upgrades to the infrastructure of the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission (PSVC);
  • $72 million for ongoing restoration and resiliency projects for the Bayshore Regional Sewerage Authority in Union Beach;
  • $33 million to construct a sea wall and improve resiliency of the Atlantic County Utilities Authority treatment plant in Atlantic City;
  • $16 million to construct wet weather pumping stations in Hoboken; and
  • $30 million in additional funds to Hoboken for storm water and green infrastructure to address flooding.

Additionally, as The Record reported, FEMA is committing $260 million to build a new power plant and a seawall to protect Newark’s PVSC treatment plant from future storms.

© iStock.com / AndreyGatash

"Projects such as these are critical to ensuring these vital public services remain in operation in times of natural disasters," a DEP commssioner said.

When Sandy struck, a 12-foot tidal surge hit the PVSC plant, flooding its tunnels and taking out electrical systems. This damage prohibited the plant from treating waste for a period of several weeks, and ultimately 800 million gallons of raw sewage was dumped into Newark Bay.

Another $72 million will come from FEMA to repair the sludge treatment building and improve the combined sewer overflow system, The Record indicated.

Learning from the Past

According to the governor’s office, the New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Trust (NJEIT) and New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) have been working together for decades to finance projects meant to protect and enhance water quality.

The experience gained from Sandy led to the development of the Statewide Assistance Infrastructure Loan (SAIL) program, which expedites the financing process to get work done more quickly in anticipation of FEMA disaster reimbursement.

PVSC spokeswoman Hollie A. Gilroy told The Record that financing received from the SAIL program will be reimbursed by FEMA.

“Sandy dealt a devastating blow to our drinking water and wastewater infrastructure, much of which is located along rivers and coastal areas that are vulnerable to severe flooding,” DEP Commissioner Robert Martin said in the governor’s office statement.

“Projects such as these are critical to ensuring these vital public services remain in operation in times of natural disasters, and that our environment is protected,” he said.

   

Tagged categories: Asia Pacific; EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa); Environmental Controls; Environmental Protection; Infrastructure; Latin America; North America; Sewer systems; Waste Processing Plant; Wastewater Plants

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