By Larry Barszewski

A plan to get Manalapan homes off septic tanks and onto a town sewer system could take a major step forward in the coming year, with hopes the town can secure a large grant to keep its expenses to a minimum.
Town commissioners still must decide which type of sewer system they prefer — or if they want to do a project at all. They tentatively scheduled a 1 p.m. Zoom workshop for Oct. 5 to come to a consensus.
At a Zoom workshop on Sept. 27, commissioners heard a presentation from O’Neill and Associates, one of several firms the town plans to consider to help secure money for a project.
The firm is headed by Tom O’Neill, a former lieutenant governor of Massachusetts and son of former U.S. House Speaker Tip O’Neill.
“What we are looking for at the end of the day is not really so much a loan, but is there grant funding available,” Mayor Keith Waters said. “Is there something that will offset the cost of doing this through governmental grants, through other options?”
O’Neill’s team said that’s something it could “tee up” in discussions with Mitch Landrieu, the White House chief of infrastructure oversight. O’Neill said he would need town demographic information to support a grant.
“We have to build arguments in order to go to Washington,” O’Neill said. “We’re going to go find out if there’s a grant program that we can find that is tailor-made for you.”
Waters said the town shouldn’t lose out just because of its high per capita income.
“The dollar I pay for taxes is no different than the dollar that the Lantana guy pays. I just pay more of them,” he said. “We’re funding everything around us five and six times and we’re not getting the benefit of what they get for free.”
The emphasis should be on averting what could become an environmental catastrophe, Waters said.
“Our single strongest argument is we are a barrier island and if something happens to us, then all of these septic tanks,” the sewage “goes everywhere,” he said. “We need to be part of a system that protects us and everyone around us.”
Commission discussions in August and September have leaned toward creating a low pressure sewer system. Each property would have a macerating pump, which would grind a home’s sewage and push it into a small-diameter pipe that would carry it to a wastewater treatment plant in Lake Worth Beach.
The cost estimate for such a system is $10.3 million, says the town’s engineering consultant, Mock Roos & Associates. The company can’t develop a firm price until the commission picks the type of sewer system.
Vice Mayor Stewart Satter said the cost doesn’t seem as high as people might think for a sewer system. The mayor concurred, saying that’s the cost to fix “a bad driveway on most properties.”
A bigger concern might be the disruptions caused by sewer construction. “It will be invasive,” Waters said. “If this is not accepted as progress, then it’s going to be a difficult process no matter what it costs.”
Each property would need to have a pump to grind the sewage. The estimated cost for a macerating pump was $9,000 installed, consultants said.
Some homes already use such pumps for their septic tanks. Those may work in a new system as well, officials said.
Homeowners who have recently installed septic tanks may not want to switch immediately to a new system, Town Manager Linda Stumpf acknowledged. The town could have a system where connection is available and a base charge is assessed, but it would be left to the individual property owner when to start using the sewer system, she said.
“The actual cost for them monthly would not happen until they started sending water through,” Stumpf said.
Mock Roos also presented information about gravity and vacuum sewer systems, but they were more expensive and had other issues that concerned commissioners.

E-mail me when people leave their comments –

You need to be a member of The Coastal Star to add comments!

Join The Coastal Star

Activity Feed

The Coastal Star posted a blog post
May 7
The Coastal Star posted a blog post
May 3
Mary Kate Leming posted a discussion in ACROSS THE BRIDGE
May 1
Mary Kate Leming posted a discussion in BRINY BREEZES
May 1
Mary Kate Leming posted a discussion in OCEAN RIDGE
May 1
Mary Kate Leming posted a discussion in HIGHLAND BEACH
May 1
The Coastal Star posted a blog post
May 1
Mary Kate Leming posted a blog post
May 1
Mary Kate Leming posted a discussion
May 1
The Coastal Star posted a blog post
May 1
Mary Kate Leming posted a discussion in MANALAPAN
May 1
The Coastal Star posted a blog post
May 1
The Coastal Star posted a blog post
May 1
Mary Kate Leming posted a discussion in SOUTH PALM BEACH
May 1
Mary Kate Leming posted a discussion
May 1
Mary Kate Leming posted a discussion
May 1
The Coastal Star posted a blog post
May 1
Mary Kate Leming posted a discussion in BRINY BREEZES
May 1
The Coastal Star posted a blog post
May 1
The Coastal Star posted a blog post
May 1
More…