Mayor Patrick Impreveduto delivered the following statement at the May 19 Township Committee meeting:
Since 2002 the Township Committee has been working with the NJ DEP and the Monmouth County Planning Board on the Wastewater Management Plan. The township has always been consistent in that there has been no expansion of sewer service to Holmdel Park, Garden State Arts Center and the Lucent property.
The sewer line on the Lucent property was approved in the early 1990's for the building only. The reason it was approved is that heavy metals were being disposed of in the wastewater of Bell Labs. And that wastewater would then flow through into the Ramanessin Stream, which in turn would feed the Swimming River Reservoir which is the sole source of water for most of Monmouth County.
Regarding the GSAC tract and Holmdel Park, this area contains critical headwaters for our drinking system. This ridgeline is packed with streams and wetlands that also serve a majority of water to the Reservoir itself. The DEP has labeled this area as a Category 1 area.
Now, all of you are aware that we are in deep negotiations with a contract developer for the Lucent property. Now, during negotiations we tried to do what is right for Holmdel and for the environment. We restricted sewer service lines to its current state, which is the building only.
We did this so we are not at risk for future high-density development, development on the entire site. This is providing that the current developer deal falls through. We were worried about the future, so we were rigid in making sure that we did not sewer anything but what was presently sewered. And by the way, DEP has labeled this site -- which I find ironic -- environmentally sensitive!
The same thing holds true for the Garden State Arts Center property. There we have 1.2 acres of park and woodlands. We are told the DEP's position is that allowing sewer service will support its mission.
Well it’s interesting; we don't know what their mission is. And we don't know if it’s good for Holmdel or not.
To summarize, it comes down to this -- and I hope I am correct, I am getting a crash course in environmental stuff in these last couple of days -- if you cover up all the land with buildings, roadways, parking lots, etc. and don't allow the rain, snow and yes, septic, to meander slowly down to be cleansed and filtered by the soil, you are not going to recharge the aquifer. And at the same time if you have this impervious coverage you get this massive runoff, from the surface, and the aquifer eventually will become weak and salt will move in and the water level will drop.
Water levels can drop so much that it will affect our personal drinking water.
So the water supply is a critical issue to all of us, and we have done our part, in Holmdel, trying to protect it.
We cannot understand why the DEP doesn't help protect it as well.
So we're asking all of you to join all the Township Committee members and other members of our community in protecting Holmdel's environment.
We have a petition drive beginning tonight, and continuing it for a period of time, right outside our doors. So if you believe in what we're doing won't you please sign our petition.
Also, we are going to encourage the residents to join us on June 6, 6:30 p.m. showing at the Manalapan Library to help us present our petition in keeping Holmdel environmentally safe.