CAMDEN, NJ—The Camden County Municipal Utilities Authority has received over $6 million in federal funding to reduce sewer overflows in the City of Camden.
The funding, which comes in the form of a $6.6 million low-interest loan from the New Jersey Clean Water State Revolving Fund [CWSRF] program, will provide for the installation of 10 new rain gardens and the replacement of deteriorating combined sewer pipes throughout the City of Camden.
CCMUA Executive Director Andrew Kricun said that due to the city’s combined sewer system, which holds both stormwater and sanitary sewer water in one pipe instead of separate pipes, “when it rains you have combined sewage flooding in the streets, in the parks, in the basements of the residents.”
The 10 rain gardens will allow more rain water to be absorbed into the ground instead of going into the city’s combined sewer system, reducing both flooding and contamination, Kricun said.
The project furthers the goal of the Camden SMART Initiative, a partnership of six entities formed in 2011 to protect human health, improve conditions for economic development, improve water quality, and enhance the quality of life for Camden City. So far, the initiative has completed over 50 green infrastructure projects, like the installation of rain gardens, and captured over 62 million gallons of stormwater thorughout the city, according to its website.
Kricun said that while the exact locations of the 10 new rain gardens have yet to be determined, they will be located in places where it floods and where people tend to be.
Camden County Freeholder Jeffrey Nash called the funding a “tremendous opportunity” to also make upgrades to the combined sewer pipes.
“We’ll also be able to go in and replace some of the combined sewer and stormwater pipes that are old and deteriorating and creating headaches elsewhere,” Nash said in a statement. ”We’re going to be able to make some really meaningful changes as a result of this award, and we’re incredibly excited that the Environmental Protection Agency has given us this opportunity to better the quality of life our in this community.”
The United States Environmental Protection Agency announced last week that it awarded $65,589,000 to the NCWSRF program, and $18,957,000 to the New Jersey Drinking Water Revolving Fund [DWSRF] program, totaling almost $84.5 million to the state. The two programs are administered by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection [NJDEP] and its financing program, the New Jersey Infrastructure Bank [NJIB].
“Working with our state and local partners to ensure our communities have affordable access to clean drinking water remains a critical priority for EPA,” said EPA Regional Administrator Pete Lopez. “We are pleased to provide significant funding as part of our overall efforts to help New Jersey meet its critical water infrastructure needs.”
Kricun said since 1989, the CCMUA has received hundreds millions of dollars from the fund, and was also the very first recipient of the program
“We are the biggest user of the fund in the whole state,” Kricun said. “We appreciate the funding from the state, its enabled us to continue our mission to end flooding.”