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Mayor: Holmdel Will Not Be Environmentally Impacted by Expanded Sewerage Map

Impreveduto said after speaking with environmental experts and engineers, he believes the expanded sewer system won't negatively impact the township.

A proposal for expanded sewer service came back before a branch of the Monmouth County Planning Board last week, and it could mean a full sewer system on the Alcatel Lucent property. 

In 2011, Holmdel residents rallied against the expanded sewer system plans, which could allow the entire Lucent and Garden State Arts properties to become sewered. 

Holmdel Mayor Patrick Impreveduto said during a statement in 2011, "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."

A meeting on Feb. 13 of the Monmouth County Water Quality Management Plan Amendment Review Committee revealed Impreveduto reversed his decision, a move the mayor said was announced several times in Township Committee meetings.

Check out Holmdel Patch's initial coverage in 2011 of an impassioned township meeting which lasted hours.

However, Impreveduto said since 2011, he has "done his due dilligence" and spoken to environmental experts as well as engineers, and feels that information proved an expanded system won't negatively impact the area.

"It has absolutely no impact on environmental issues, based on the engineer's findings," Impreveduto said.

Any concerns about over-development in newly sewered areas can be controlled through zoning ordinances, Impreveduto said.

Citizens for Informed Land Use President Anthony Cooper said in a Patch Blog: 

"...No member of this ARC could say whether or not an independent and objective Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) was submitted that concludes the cumulative drinking water impacts of expanding Holmdel Township's Sewer Service Area is better for the Swimming River Reservoir Watershed. Recall the NJ Dept. of Environmental Protection proposed in April 2011 expanding Holmdel's Sewer Service Area to include all portions of the two Alcatel-Lucent tracts, the roughly 700 acres in Holmdel owned by the NJ Turnpike Authority, and most of Holmdel's Public Parks and Open Space areas."

In May of 2011, residents gathered to collect signatures, filling a petition to protest the expanded sewerage map. Mayor Patrick Impreveduto and Committeman Rocco Pascucci were on hand collecting signatures as well, according to an archived Patch article.

Tell us: Do you think expanding the sewer service would have a postive or negative impact on Holmdel Township?

Larrabee M. Smith February 22, 2013 at 04:46 AM
Pratical Thinker, Yes, in the past, there were a significant rate of septic-drain-field failures on the South Slope. The seepage pit of the septic system for my home was full when the CO was issued before anyone occupied the house. We made a lot of changes after we moved in in 1960 and survived until we got city water years later. And, yes there were a lot more situations where the regulations were ignored. We went a long way towards assuring the enforcement of regulations after I was appointed to the Planning Board in 65 and we made further progress in assuring the proper location and installation of septic systems in 1970 when the Board of Health was formed. But failures do occur even when systems are properly located and installed but the rate of failures had dropped years ago to the point that it was not a pollution problem but pumping water out into the Ocean is a problem when it is in short supply and the shortage of supply is our area is growing. I won't try to deal with your distorted view of the history of attempts to extend sewers to the Southern part Holmdel to save space. Let me just observe that no one could have personally benefited more than I if sewers were extended into my area but I knew that it would be the death of Holmdel because our large lot Zoning would be overturned and our growth rate, our school populations and our tax rate would soar. I will provide some information in a second post to give you something to think about.
Larrabee M. Smith February 22, 2013 at 05:08 AM
I discovered, in 08, that there is a relatively inexpensive addition to a septic system, used in many jurisdictions all over our country to correct failing drain fields and is a major improvement for marginal drain fields. It has been relatively well understood for years. It is called AERATION and the problem it corrects or prevents is EXCESSIVE BIOMAT GROWTH. Excessive biomat growth is clearly a dominant cause of the failure of drain fields. Yet, in 08, the term Biomat was new to everyone I spoke with in Monmouth County. In conventional septic systems, the bacteria are called anaerobic. They do not require oxygen. They multiply in the drain field and form a grayish-black layer at the intersection of the stone and soil. The biomat continues to grow as long as there is more food than the bacteria need to survive. The biomat slows the flow of effluent into the soil but is essential for the proper digestion of the organic waste to avoid pollution. However, if the waste to be digested is excessive, the biomat will become excessive and block the flow of effluent into the soil. An inexpensive and lasting solution is to pump air into the tank ahead of the drain field to introduce oxygen into the effluent and support the growth of Aerobic bacteria, which are at least 20 times more effective than anaerobic bacteria. My bottom line is simple, the Mayor has been misled by people who should know better and we need people who can think staight to straighten him out.
Holmdel Repub February 22, 2013 at 02:59 PM
Those on the committee with children are going to hear the same tune years from now. "When I grew up this was a great place...lots of open space, running trails, fields...now it's got houses and neighborhoods every where. As my dad always said, you can't stop progress". We can control it with zoning - famous last words.
Tony Orsini February 22, 2013 at 03:28 PM
Anyone who does their homework, crunches numbers, and speaks with bonafide experts who do not have a financial stake in development or has a history of expertise on the subject (such as Mr. Smith) knows the answer. In addition, if a DNA analysis were done on the fecal contect of ANY stream I am certain it would found to be animal DNA, not human. According to the data possessed by Holmdel's former sanitarian, the "failing septic" issue in Holmdel is completely bogus. The soils ARE suited for septic. Any maintenance issue is either due to natural aging of the system or immproper use/mainteance by the owner.
Tony Orsini February 22, 2013 at 04:07 PM
P.S. two-thirds of the USA is serviced by septic. So much for health hazards.
Tony Orsini February 22, 2013 at 04:14 PM
I will be more specific rather than giving you what amount of USA land mass is septic:According to the U.S. Census Bureau, about 26 million homes (one-fourth of all homes) in America are served by decentralized wastewater treatment systems. The Census Bureau reports that the distribution and density of septic systems vary widely by region and state, from a high of about 55 percent in Vermont to a low of around 10 percent in California. The New England states have the highest proportion of homes served by septic systems: New Hampshire and Maine both report that about one-half of all homes are served by individual systems. More than one-third of the homes in the southeastern states depend on these systems, including approximately 48 percent in North Carolina and about 40 percent in both Kentucky and South Carolina. More than 60 million people in the nation are served by septic systems. About one-third of all new development is served by septic or other decentralized treatment systems.
Bean Counter February 22, 2013 at 04:26 PM
How about more comments from those actually living on the south slope, or those expecting their children to attend Holmdel schools over the next 12 years. They are the people most impacted by the decision to put high density housing on the Lucent property, because let's face it, developers have consistently received 55+ age requirement waivers due to declining sales, and will so in the future. Perhaps the Patch could enlighten its' readers with crime statistics comparing Holmdel's high density developments north of route 35 with those of the south slope, from vandalism, theft and burglary to drug offenses. Note for parents: there are no schools located north of 35. Perhaps you could organize a walk from the high school to Lucent some nice Sunday, to see how long it takes. As for the practicality of sewering 200+ homes to the BRSA facility, a feat which requires electric to pump "over the hill", there is one outstanding question...what happens when the lights go out? A business can be shuttered, but where does the sewage go when 200+ homes are without electric for even a day, let alone the 5 and 10 day outages of the last 2 years? For lack of hydrologic engineering information, assume discharge will be to the Swimming River Reservoir. That stench you smell will be from the lack of foresight and due diligence of our current administration. Pass me some bottled water, Mr. Mayor, because after last year, we all know NJAW has the facilities to clean that stench!
Holmdel Dem February 22, 2013 at 10:26 PM
I don't mind seeing the Lucent property totally sewered, as the building already has sewers connected to it. Having the homes on the outside of the building will help to facilitate the sale of the property and help to lower my taxes....just do it. And all this talk of putting in sewers affecting the reservoir levels is a bunch of BS. How much water do you really think will enter the reservoir if the property is septic??? A few thousand gallons per house....it's like a grain of sand on the beach. So stop your bellyaching all you environmentalists, we live in the most densely populated state in the nation, and there's nothing wrong with sewers.
Holmdel Dem February 22, 2013 at 10:34 PM
Tony, I realized that you did not provide any data for New Jersey or Monmouth County. I would love to see those numbers. Telling me the % of homes in the boon docks that have septics, doesn't quite tell the true picture, especially when we live in the most densely populated state in the nation.
Holmdel Dem February 22, 2013 at 10:40 PM
Nobody is proposing to put high density housing on the Lucent property....get your facts straight. As for the blackouts, I live on a sewered lot and had no problem flushing my toilet and taking hot showers during the blackout.....and so did all of my friends throughout town....once again get your facts straight.
Omar Little February 22, 2013 at 11:54 PM
Not to mention the water is treated after it leaves the resouvior. I am sure there is enough goose crap in there to make the BS spouted by these so called anti sewar "experts" seem like a drop in the outhouse.
Larrabee M. Smith February 23, 2013 at 04:07 AM
Yes, Mr. Little, there are probably a lot of goose droppings in the water flowing into the reservoir. In 68, if my memory hasn't failed me, there was a report of an unacceptably high level of whatever in the flow into the reservoir. It turned out to be caused by the Geese in the pond in the Park. However, this may be good for a laugh but it doesn't change the FACT that expanding the area serviced by sewers will not adversely impact our water supply.
Larrabee M. Smith February 23, 2013 at 04:29 AM
Holmdel Dem, I've tried all day to ignore your comment but I will not sleep tonight if I ignore such stupidity. It is a FACT that the supply of water in our area has not kept up with the growth and an increasing shortage is projected for the years ahead. And, those with only a Grade School Education must understand that sewers take water used by the structure served and pump it into the Ocean while septic systems return it to the earth where it is treated and becomes available to use again. You, and people who think like you, are helping to destroy the world for my Grandchildren.
Pradeep Jhanjee February 23, 2013 at 04:55 PM
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool. Richard P. Feynman Speaking of first principles, what defines Holmdel? Open Space and Great Schools are the roots from which this wonderful community has grown over the decades. We owe deep thanks to the community’s past leadership for their wisdom and stewardship for remaining true to these two goals. I believe the current administration’s compass is no longer anchored with an “Open Space” definitional stance. Look at actions and deeds and not at the words uttered. The pressure for revenue has compelled them to embrace the arguments for residential ratables. Volumes have been written on the negative long term budgetary impact of residential ratables. The need for open space to replenish our water supply has also been well vetted. All these observations aside, I wish to appeal to a simple definitional statement namely: I like the current balance of open to developed space that exists in Holmdel and I would like it to remain so. I believe that the majority of the people who live in Holmdel are similarly inclined. I would like to have leadership that seeks solutions to the Lucent situation with the same intensity as a person who is about to lose a significant body part. What is being proposed for the site is diametrically opposite to what Holmdel stands for. If all else fails, we have the ballot box, use it! Else we deserve what we get. Pradeep Jhanjee PS: I am not a dem
Mike Simpson February 23, 2013 at 09:40 PM
"What happens when the lights go out?" Answer - Holmdel's sewer system keeps working as usual - all of the sewer pump stations in Holmdel have their own emergency generators which come on automatically in the event of a power outage - all worked just fine through Irene and Sandy....
Thomas Scarano February 25, 2013 at 01:24 PM
Thank you to the Mayor for his leadership. It is interesting to note that the environmental extremists are at it again. I am sure we will see many more distortions and lies from CILU.
Holmdel Repub February 25, 2013 at 01:37 PM
As a repub, I wouldn't define our mayor's recent actions as leadership. Switching a decision that can have a big impact on the town because he spoke informally to s few engineers (nameless?) and did some research on the internet isn't in my opinion great leadership. Then to go on record again and lambast constituents by saying they're not listening with a sarcastic smirk is not great leadership. What about the non-CILU aligned residents (like me) who are saying they don't want to see sewers expanded? I guess the mayor is not listening. Would have liked to have seen mr. ponisi take the reigns this year.
Larrabee M. Smith February 25, 2013 at 08:16 PM
Mischa, This should not be political issue. While I can't recall the names of the experts I checked with when I was first alerted, by the now Chairman of the County Planning Board, to the FACT that our supply of water was suffering as a result of development in the area, it should be obvious to anyone with a grade school education that, since sewers pump effluent into the Ocean while septic systems let it flow into the ground, sewers will adversely impact our available supply of water. One commenter (above) argues that the water pumped into the Ocean is returned as rain. After all, rain is the primary source of water to replenish what we lose through the flow of streams into the Ocean. But, while the moisture in the air that becomes rain drops and a lot comes from the Ocean, the air moves from West to East and the evaporation of from the Ocean doesn't generally return to us. Pumping water into the Ocean upsets the natural balance and reduces our supply of water. Further, if more water in the Ocean would increase our rainfall, it should have increased significantly over the past 10 years as the Ocean has risen and we would be expecting floods. The ice is melting at the poles and the Ocean level is expected to rise another foot in the next decade or so. If you want access to studies on the subject of the level of water in our aquifer, I suggest you contact Rutgers. See below as well.
Larrabee M. Smith February 25, 2013 at 08:18 PM
Continuation, sorry for being so wordy: One additional fact that might help you understand situation is the fact that the Water Co. has been making stronger statements in the Fall of each year over the past 10 about restricting the use of water.
Nick J. February 25, 2013 at 08:56 PM
Let's see, sewers vs. septics....the choice is quite simple, I like my sewers!! I see the point of impacting the water levels, but it's ultimate impact is inconsequential and therefore not even worth discussing. We don't live in a third world country or in a very rural part of this country, so sewers will win out 100% of the time. I don't know of a sane individual who if given the choice between the two would choose septics. So all you enviornmentalists like Mr. Smith and Mr. Orsini, you people may cry the loudest, but you are in the very small minority.
Nick J. February 25, 2013 at 09:02 PM
I think the CILU people are by far the most extreme bunch of individuals I have ever encountered....they are a scary bunch and partly because of this group, we don't have the corporate headquarters of Chase!!! What a loss of high paying jobs to our community. While Mr. Ponisi may have been a good choice to lead our community, I think Mayor Impreveduto has done a remarkable job and his leadership through Superstorm Sandy and now with helping Keansburg has cemented his legacy to our community.
Carol Beckenstein February 25, 2013 at 11:18 PM
Mr. Smith, thank you for clarifying so much here, but you are wasting your time with these people. They are strictly politically motivated. DEFINITELY IGNORE anything that "Nick J." says. He is consistently mistaken about Holmdel history; he mentions "Chase Headquarters," above, though I, myself, have spent so much time explaining that plans for the headquarters were ended BY Chase. Having been away awhile from Patch blogs, I see another pseudonym "Practical Thinker" has joined the cowardly ranks who call wonderful people - like Larry Fink - mean nicknames, while keeping their own identities concealed.
Thomas Scarano February 26, 2013 at 02:47 AM
Mr Smith If you would be kind enough to direct me to testimony or written explanation from experts to support your claim about the impact on our drinking water here in Holmdel I would appreciate it.
Holmdel Repub February 26, 2013 at 12:30 PM
Cemented his legacy to the community? I think that's part of the problem. Listen to the video - seems like it's all about the mayor's whims. I, I , I. His actions tend to make the rest of our committee look bad. I hope the rest of the TC is speaking their minds and not letting mr. legacy rubber stamp his decisions. And let's be honest, the Keansburg sponsorship is great - I hope we help a lot of people- but it was put in motion once the mayor realized Colts Neck was doing something for Union Beach. His legacy will be the flip flop and the impact on the community. I don't know about the impact on drinking water - guess that remains to be seen in the decades to come. Will leave that debate to people in the know. Adding sewers where they weren't supposed to be to accommodate a developers housing plans will lead to sprawl and higher taxes. Once the infrastructure is there, it;s a foot in the door for future tie ins and expansion. I grew up in a town in NJ that had fields, lakes, open areas - now it's townhomes, condos and small lot homes as far as the eye can see - and that wasn't too long ago. I am seeing symptoms of the same happening here, and that would be a shame.
Mischa February 26, 2013 at 02:40 PM
I like my septic system and so do my neighbors. So there you go..... That's America - we can still disagree and be civil, can't we?
Nick J. February 26, 2013 at 02:59 PM
Carol, yes Chase did end discussions, but that happened rather than fight you and your CILU (anti-progress and good job) group. If you have your way, you will stop progress at Lucent as well. However, the voters of Holmdel have spoken and our TC has been given the power to carefully and prudently develop the Lucent site.
Larrabee M. Smith February 27, 2013 at 12:25 AM
Mr. Scarano, When I first read your request, I thought about trying to chase down one of the people I had spoken with when I first heard about the projection of a water shortage in our area but I'm sorry, I’m lucky to remember any of what was said these days or said it. My memory isn't what it used to be and I would have to go through everything I went through to understand after Mr. Domidion, the new Chairman of the County Planning Board, told me about the issue probably 10 years ago. He had helped me get an update of the raw data Charlie Pike, the then Director of the County Planning Board and Holmdel resident, had given me in the 60s concerning numbers of school children as a function of the age of a subdivision. I suggest that you do what I did and contact the Water Company and ask for information forming the basis of their concerns and call Rutgers and speak with one of the people who studies the subject. I also had some contacts from my college days but you will have to find your own. It was through them that I ended up speaking about the subject of Aeration in septic systems with the head of the State of Washington DEP equivalent. However, it doesn't require much education to understand the potential impact of sewers. If you have any understanding at all of the laws of nature, you must understand that water that is used in a structure, in Holmdel, that is served with sewers eventually flows into the Ocean. Continued below.
Larrabee M. Smith February 27, 2013 at 12:36 AM
You must also understand that water that is used in a structure served with a septic system, flows into the ground. Some of the discharge of the septic system will probably reach a stream and flow into the Ocean but not all. Therefore, the expansion of sewers means more water used flows into the Ocean. To me, this means that the question of concern comes down to the question of "are we sending more water into the ocean than is being restored by rain” and is the level in the aquifer or aquifers in our area falling seriously in the Fall of year. Of course, someone with greater expertise that I, will mention evaporation as another consideration but that would get us into Global Warming and I'm sure you would agree to leave it alone. To me, even though I did a lot of checking with so called experts after Me, Domidion triggered my concerns, it is sufficient that the Water Company has been placing greater restrictions on water used in the Fall of the year every year for several. There have also been bits in the media about the issue. Still more below.
Larrabee M. Smith February 27, 2013 at 12:38 AM
I’m also very aware, from personal experience, that septic systems installed in soil that has inadequate percolation or improperly constructed can be a problem. As I have ranted in prior posts, I’m equally aware that is was the lack of enforcement of regulations that caused and causes most of the problems and that there is an addition to systems, that has been hidden from the public, that could eliminate the most common problem with septic systems encountered by homeowners in our town. In the days when we had a Young Republican Club, the word would have been spread by the Rebubs but obviously not in today’s world.
Tony Orsini February 27, 2013 at 02:32 PM
Characterizing CILU as an extremist group of radicals is so ridiculous it's laughable. Only an extremist would characterize them as such (oh...as well as League of Women Voters, right, Tom? ("He who calls someone a fool is himself a fool..." Remember who said that?). They are simply a group of very educated folks aware of the common pitfalls and cascade of events that lead to over development. Some of them have had sewers FORCED upon them. Have any of the critics posting attended a meeting or dialogued with CILU? If you attended a CILU meeting you might think you were at a Holmdel Half Century Club meeting. And zoning alone is no protection: just ask Judge Lawson [about exclusionary zoning]. Once we get reckless with development and start losing our reputation as a town that is preservation-minded (i.e. selling open space) we lose precedent and benefit of the doubt in court actions. With more sewering, we are set up for the kind of assault by deep pocketed developers with connections seeking greater densities. I assure you Mt. Laurel will return in some form to compound the problem. Many folks I talk to are well aware how the communities they came from went to hell and they would rather not see Holmdel travel down the same road to oblivion of higher taxes and lower property values.

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