Problems began around 11 a.m. on Thursday during a planned construction project on the Mount Laurel Municipal
Utilities Authority (MUA) sewer system on Union Mill Road between Morning Glory Drive and Watson Drive, according to the authority. Traffic detours were put in place and will continue throughout the day on Friday for continued repairs and clean up.
In October 2021, the MUA contracted with Earle Asphalt of Farmingdale, NJ in the amount of $409,713.13 for the
project known as Union Mill Farms Force Main Replacement, after public bidding. Due to material supply chain delays
associated with the pandemic, construction on the project actively began in April ’22, with the majority of construction
scheduled during the end of June.
The project consists of two major areas of work: Installation of a replacement 6” diameter sanitary force main for the
MUA’s Union Mill Farms Pumping Station (which had originally installed in the 1980’s), and Replacement of a 20” isolation valve (installed in 1971) on the MUA’s crosstown sewer pipe in Union Mill Road.
Installation of the new smaller line was completed and placed into service without fanfare. In order to facilitate replacement of the large valve, above ground bypass piping was needed to keep sewage flowing across town from the MUA’s various pumping stations to its sewage treatment plant on Pike Road.
The bypass piping was installed outside of the roadway beginning the week of June 24, and by June 30, Earle was ready
to cut out and replace the existing 20” valve. It was during this time that a component of one of two temporary valves
began to leak sewage into the excavation. To accommodate emergency pumping, traffic needed to be detoured from
Union Mill Road onto Morning Glory Drive through Holiday Village East.
In addition, the MUA had to shut down a major portion of the primary sewer interceptor line, a move that Chuck
Bernheimer, MUA Operations Director, indicated they were hoping to avoid.
“With planned construction projects, we opt for installation of temporary bypass piping in order to reduce stress on our pumping systems and to avoid trucking of sewage,” he noted.
Trucking by the MUA and hired septic haulers continued overnight Thursday and into Friday.
“Even with planned projects there’s always a chance that problems can
occur, so we’re ready with contingency plans,” MUA Executive Director, Pam Carolan added.
Clean up of several locations including adjacent to the construction site will occur on Friday.
This project is the sixth of nine planned renewals for the MUA’s primary sanitary force main system throughout Mount Laurel.
This phase was designed by Alaimo Associates of Mount Holly, NJ with loan funding provided by the NJ I-Bank loan