Hazlet Township To Begin Natco Lake Park Clean-Up
Township Committee votes to spend $16,900 to pick up 940 tons of rubble left behind by contractors during an emergency sewage pipe repair.
The Hazlet Township Public Works Dept. will begin picking up an estimated 940 tons of debris that was dumped in Natco Lake Park in October 2011, when a contractor laid down a temporary road on swampy ground so that trucks could access a backed-up sewage pipe during a public health emergency.
The half-mile trail of construction debris in a section of the 260-acre Green Acres site off Union Avenue includes chunks of concrete, bits of brick, and tile, said Township Administrator Brian Valentino.
Hazlet expects to pay about $16,900 to a yet-unnamed private disposal company to take it. "Whichever company gives the best price on tonnage," said municipal attorney James Gorman. He explained the contract does not have to be put out to public bid because if falls under the $17,500 threshold.
Some of it will be removed this year, and some next year, said Township Administrator Brian Valentino.
The sewer main runs through a wet section of Natco Lake Park. Valentino explained in an interview in September that in the early 1970s, a dirt berm road was placed next to the pipe as a maintenance road. Over time, a root managed to work its way into the works and grew. The root flourished in the manhole, growing to be 10 feet long, with a 6 foot wide rootball. It eventually served as a stopper, and sewage started backing up in October.
The situation was discovered when the DPW was doing a manhole count during an annual cleaning in the section of pipe near Raritan High School, Valentino said. The workers noticed the pipe was full, and not flowing, so they followed the pipe through the woods until they found the problem. But the road was no longer there, and a temporary one had to be created, quickly, to stop a disaster that would have resulted in sewage backing up into people's homes.
The governing body has been working with the state Dept. of Environmental Protection on how to fix the damage in Natco Lake Park, without incurring more.
Hazlet Environmental Commission Chairwoman Rosemary Mazza and HEC member Bill Shewan have made several public statements at Township Committee meetings stating they have not been consulted by the governing body on its remediation plan.
Natco Lake Park is protected open space that is a renowned haven for birds, fish, crabs and other wildlife. The main entrance is behind Lakeside Manor on Route 36, but the park extends all the way to the Henry Hudson Trail.