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State Pushing County To Irrigate Route 47 – 6.28.2006

By Rick Racela

SHAWCREST – The world’s slowest wastewater effluent irrigation project actually might be completed this fall.
That’s because “the state is pushing us and threatening to take the money away from us,” volunteered County Engineer Dale Foster.
“The money” is $100,000 from the state Department of Transportation.
Part of the Wildwood Gateway Enhancement Project, it was “a unique public/private collaborative” – in 1999 when the county Chamber of Commerce applied for a grant to irrigate the Route 47 median from the parkway to the George Redding bridge.
Idea was to keep those daffodils, crocuses, tulips and chrysanthemums alive.
This was a “pilot project” that would use treated wastewater from the county MUA Lower- Wildwoods Wastewater Treatment Facility on the south side of the highway.
The grant was approved in January 2000 and completion was predicted in 2001.
And every year thereafter.
The MUA, according to Executive Director Charles Norkis, finished its portion of the job a year ago. In fact, it even got paid – $100,000 – from the state DEP, and spent about $25,000 of its own money.
Getting paid by the state for an uncompleted project happens about as often as your parakeet elopes with an ivory-billed woodpecker.
“We’re ready,” said Norkis,  “We installed a separate pipeline and pumping station to pull a small portion of the total effluent from the main effluent and we put an additional filter on that line to remove some more of the solids. And we installed a meter to measure the solids.
“We jacked the pipeline underneath the eastbound lane of (Route) 47 a couple years ago,” noted Norkis. “It comes up in the medial strip and goes into a valve box, where the irrigation system will be tied in.”
But there’s no irrigation system to tie in because the project seems not to be a priority  for the busy county Engineer’s office.
“It is designed,” said Foster, “but there are still a series of forms and documents and certifications we have to do. We gotta do it soon.”
Contact Zelnik at (609) 886-8600 Ext. 27 or: jzelnik@cmcherald.com

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