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Proposed Water Restrictions Tabled For Attorney Review

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Township Councilman Ted Chase (D-Ward 1) wants strict new water conservation rules for the township.

A complete replacement of the township’s “water emergencies” ordinance that would place voluntary and mandatory restrictions on regular outdoor water use and require that residents keep a log of watering days was tabled at the Township Council’s Jan. 28 meeting.

Councilman Ted Chase, (D-Ward 1) asked that the measure be tabled because it had not yet been vetted by township attorney Louis Rainone.

“This is a matter I have been working on for a full four years, I guess we’ll have to wait another two weeks at least,” he said.

Under the proposed ordinance, residents who are on public water would be “urged” to water their lawns only two days a week.

But users of well water whose property consists of lots less than 40,000 square feet in R-20, R-15, R-10, R-10A, R-10B, R-7, R-7 SF, R-7 2F, C-R SF, C-R 2F, C-R APT TNH, N-B and O-P zones would be restricted to watering twice a week.

Properties with even-number addresses would be allowed to water on even days of the month, while properties with odd-numbered addresses wold be permitted to water on odd days of the month.

Homeowners associations would have to select one or the other.

Residents and homeowner associations would also have to keep records of when they watered.

“Such records can be as simple as checkmarks on a calendar or a written list of days watered,” according to the ordinance.

Properties with irrigation systems would be restricted to two watering days per week, with watering allowed between midnight and 10 a.m.

Properties with even number addresses wold be allowed to water on Mondays and Thursdays, while properties with odd-numbered addresses would be allowed to water on Tuesdays and Fridays.

Irrigation with mist heads would be limited to 15 minutes at a time per zone, while irrigation with sprinkler head systems would be limited to 50 minutes per zone.

No watering would be allowed when it is raining, and automatic irrigation systems must be equipped with rain sensors and programmed to shut off when there is 1/4-inch of rain.

All new irrigation systems must follow a number of regulations, including having a SMART sensor that is capable of detecting moisture levels in soil.

Cars, decks and patios could be washed on any day under the new ordinance, but only with a power washer or a hose equipped with a power spary head.

The ordinance exempts property owners who use “captured” rainwater, commercial farmers, irrigation needed for chemical applications on lawns, irrigation needed for newly sodded lawns and outdoor water used for harvestable crops “consumed on-site or grown in community gardens.”

Fist-time violators of the ordinance would get a warning. During non-emergency periods, second offenses would carry a $50 fine, third offenses a $100 fine and fourth offenses a $250 fine. Any violations after the fourth would result in a doubling of the maximum fine.

First-time violators during a water emergency would also receive a warning, but second, third and fourth offenses would carry fines three times the value of those in non-emergency situations.

The council’s next regular meeting is on Feb. 11; the agenda for that meeting has not yet been made public.

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