Water has been a topic of discussion in Moorestown for months, and as progress continues to be made, a water allocation plan has needed to be adopted. In response, Township Engineer Russell Trice was present at the Town Council meeting on Monday, Sept. 12 to share three alternative plans.
Although this workshop topic required no official action from council, a plan of action needed to be submitted to the Department of Environmental Protection by Tuesday, Sept. 13. The township’s firm capacity is set by the DEP and is based on how much groundwater the wells can withdrawal from the aquifer, and the designed treatment capacity and the amount of water it is under contract to purchase from the New Jersey American Water Company.
“We evaluated three alternatives and a number of sub-alternatives for complying with your water supply firm capacity requirements and water allocation,” Trice said.
The first option discussed would include upgrading the North Church Street plant and the Kings Highway Water treatment plant. The North Church Street water treatment plant would then include removing radium gross alpha particles and manganese from the water using a pressure filtration system or doing these same processes along with using advanced oxidation and also removing the volatile organic compounds through the use of a carbon filtration.
The second alternative would increase the capacity of the Hartford Road plant to include the North Church Street plant, and would eventually seek to close the North Church Street plant. Capacity at the Hartford Road plant would be about 4.8 million gallons a day.
To aid in the evaluation of this alternative, a hydrogeological firm would need to be hired to drill two new test wells near the Hartford Road plant to see what effects would come with these new wells. Trice suggested checking with the DEP to make sure there are no fatal flaws, such as unforeseen issues at the site of the test wells.
The existing wells would be re-used and a plant similar to those would be constructed. To establish the test wells, the township would need to acquire approximately a quarter acre of land to pump water out and sample the groundwater to ensure there are no contaminants.
The third option would be to close both the North Church Street and the Hartford Road plants and begin buying all water from NJAWC.
Ultimately, there will be a lot of moving parts involved in this process, from identifying property to acquiring property to drilling test wells. Mayor Phil Garwood expects the entire process to span over the next three to four years.
Before it was determined that the evaluation of these alternatives will continue, Councilwoman Lisa Petriello asked Trice who came up with these alternatives. Trice replied that his office determined these were the alternatives considered viable. Council concluded it did not see the third alternative as a viable option.
“I feel that the engineering concepts presented by Mr. Trice represent a forward-thinking, aggressive plan to address our firm capacity needs not only now but moving into the future,” Garwood said. “There will be a great deal of collaboration between township engineering and NJDEP to assure that these concepts are properly vetted and implemented in the safest and most efficient way possible.”