Officials: Sewage spill cleanup not being kept secret

The Haddonfield Sun

The sewage spill cleanup near Wedgewood Swim Club is not being swept under the rug, officials said.

According to Mayor Jeff Kasko, the newly elected commissioners are going to sit down to discuss short- and long-term planning and solutions for the issue.

Kasko said the commission will look into answering three questions surrounding the issue: why it wasn’t cleaned up right away, why it wasn’t reported to the state and county authorities and why the former commission wasn’t notified?

“Once we figure out those three things, we will have a discussion to get to the bottom of it so it doesn’t happen again,” Kasko said.

According to a statement released by former Mayor Tish Colombi, in March, someone from the club reported an overflow coming from a manhole behind the tennis courts, which is approximately 45 feet away from the courts in a wooded area.

After the report, sewer utility workers immediately began necessary procedures to clean the sewage. Workers were able to stop the overflow, but due to wet conditions they were unable to access the manhole at that time, Colombi said in the statement.

This month, sewer utility employees removed two trash containers from the site and spread lime on the remediated area — as instructed per the state Department of Environmental Protection.

Colombi said the DEP was notified about the overflow, and after a site inspection, the borough was informed that no further action is currently required. She said the contaminants, without direct contact, have little to no health risks.

Questions regarding procedures and future issues that might arise with the area in the future need to be addressed, Kasko said.

Residents have appeared at meetings and posted concerns on Facebook regarding the issue.

Kasko said the sewer lines, although not particularly old, may need to be moved or replaced.

In 2012 Remington & Vernick, the borough’s engineering firm, was asked to perform a study to determine the best way to reroute the sewer lines, which run from PATCO behind the swim club to a pumping station at the Public Works Department on Centre Street, Colombi said in her statement.

This issue is far from being over.

Until the commissioners make some procedural changes regarding sewage issue notifications, as well as long- and short-term planning to completely fix the problem, the subject will not be pushed aside, officials said.

“Residents will be hearing more from us soon,” Kasko said.

To view Colombi’s full statement, visit www.haddonfieldnj.org/news.