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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

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Middle Introduces New Sewer Bond Ordinance

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By Vince Conti

 COURT HOUSE – Middle Township Committee March 1 introduced a new sewer and water utility bond ordinance in the amount of $2.7 million.  

The ordinance, if adopted at the governing body’s April 5 meeting, would provide additional funds needed after bids to revitalize four aging sanitary pump stations came in over two times the amount estimated by the township’s engineering firm for the project. The funds will also be used for the “next round” of pump station improvements, as the township seeks to modernize  its 21 sanitary pump stations in a multi-year effort. 

In September 2019, the township engaged the firm of Mott MacDonald to evaluate its aging sewer system, some of which is over 30 years old. Following that survey, a plan emerged to modernize the pump stations four or five at a time over several years. Four of the oldest stations, which Administrator Kimberly Krauss called “the worst of the worst,” were scheduled to kick off the effort. The township was provided with an early estimate of about $1 million for the effort. 

When bids were opened in February, the lowest bid was $2.5 million, over twice the engineering estimate.  Several factors contributed to the surprisingly high bids, including growth in the scope of the effort, but it left the township with a dilemma.  

The funds remaining from a $2.5 million bond ordinance approved in 2019, were not sufficient to make the new award, which led to the new bond ordinance introduced March 1.  

The sewer system modernization effort has two goals as expressed by Mayor Timothy Donohue. One is to reduce the stormwater infiltration into the sewer system that township officials believe drove the 83% increase in fees paid to the county Municipal Utilities Authority between 20132018. The other is to increase the system’s efficiency for the most effective use of the township water and sewer budget. 

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