In an effort to bill neighboring towns that use the municipal sewer system, the city is planning to award two contracts to investigate sewer flow from adjacent communities as well as develop a rate schedule, according to the resolutions before the city council.
The city intends to award a $51,530 engineering contract to Iselin-based Hatch Mott MacDonald to investigate the sewage flow from neighboring towns. The firm was the sole respondent to the city’s advertisement for engineering services, according to the resolution.
The city intends to award a $67,565 contract to Charlotte, North Carolina-based Raftelis Financial Consultants to develop a rate schedule “to properly separate and allocate all sewer related costs from the municipal budget and develop a rate schedule for the city that will result in a user rate that will sustain the cost of owning and operating the combined sewer system (CSO).”
Sewage from 439 properties in Clifton, Haledon, Totowa, Woodland Park, Prospect Park, and Passaic County flows through the city’s combined sewer system. The city issued an ultimatum to the six entities earlier in the year. It wanted the entities to pay a ‘fair’ sewer connection fee from 2012 through 2015 in the amount of $1.54 million.
The city wanted the neighboring sewer users to also enter into updated shared services agreements. In return, the six entities would not have to pay retroactive going back to 2007. The agreements would also apportion the cost to study the flow and develop a rate schedule.
Business administrator Nellie Pou on Tuesday evening said some of the towns that use the city’s sewer system have communicate to the city stating their intention to disconnect from the municipal sewer system.
Money for the two studies is coming from the city’s treasury, said officials.
The six entities have not been paying their ‘fair’ share of the sewer connection cost, officials have said, because of antiquated agreements. The city also has to take costly steps to comply with state and federal regulations whose goal is to eliminate CSOs which dump sewage into rivers during heavy rainfall and snowmelt.
Over the past decade the city has spent $30 million to install nets at the CSO outflow stations to capture large objects. To fully comply with regulations the city will have to spend as much as $200 million to $1 billion, according to officials.
Paterson is not alone: 20 other New Jersey municipalities – among them the older big cities Jersey City, Newark, and Elizabeth — face the same exact issue.
The council is expected to vote on both contracts during its regular meeting on Tuesday night.