Little Rocky Hill Water Main Woes May Be Ending

Township Councilman Ted Chase said that Little Rocky Hill’s water woes may soon be ending.

It looks as though issues with the state have been resolved, and the woes associated with a water main in Little Rocky Hill may finally be coming to an end.

Township Councilman Ted Chase (D-Ward 1) made the announcement at the Sept. 26 council meeting. Chase has been working on getting the main replaced for at least the last five years, he said.

The issue is that the main was improperly placed under Route 27 and cannot handle water pressure greater than 20 psi, he said.

“It blows about once a year,” he said.

The result is that water pressure is kept artificially low, which means residents serviced by the main can’t take showers in second-floor bathrooms, and all of the fire hydrants in that area have been capped.

“They can’t be used because there’s not enough water pressure,” Chase said.

Although the water main lies under Rt 27’s shoulder, the state Department of Transportation has in the past insisted that the township re-pave not only the shoulder, but the entire road along the two- to three-mile affected area. That would artificially drive costs up.

The new plan is to inject a new liner inside the pipe, rather than dig it up and replace it, Chase said.

That plan seemed to sit well with the DOT, until it recently repaved that section of Rt 27.

“They said you can’t dig that up within five years of when we repaved it,” Chase said. “There was a meeting in Trenton, with the Deputy Director of the DOT, who was the acting director at that time. He saw the light and directed the person who actually writes these permits to write the permit.”

Several days ago, Chase said, the township received a letter from the DOT saying that the permit had been denied.

“Hot phone calls went to Trenton, asking for more details, and the deputy director told the (permit writer) in no uncertain terms that he will approve this permit,” Chase said. “We trust that it will come through in proper papers.”

The new plan calls for drilling down into the 50-year-old water main about every 750 feet, and injecting the new liner, Chase said.

The water line – which is now connected to South Brunswick’s water line – will be connected to the township’s water line, Chase said. It was originally connected to South Brunswick’s because at that time, Franklin’s water line did not extend that far south, he said.

As a result, the township has been buying water from South Brunswick at the more expensive commercial rate, and selling it to Little Rocky Hill residents at a loss, Chase said. This new work will solve that problem, he said.

“We will now be able to connect it up to our system and give people much better service, and we will be buying the water as we usually do from NJ American Water and New Brunswick so we will be able to provide the water without taking a loss on it,” Chase said.

Chase said that the project is expected to cost about $5 million and that final design work would be done between now and Christmas.

“Then it will go out to bid, and work should start in the Spring,” he said.


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