MONTVILLE, NJ – Oct. 6 was proclaimed Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day in Montville Township due to an initiative from the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey and a joint resolution from the state assembly and senate.
The initiative has a joint purpose, according to the township’s proclamation: “to educate families of addictive qualities of opioid pain medicines and their link to heroin abuse rates in New Jersey, and communicate to physicians information on safer prescribing messages.”
Members of the Montville Township Drug Awareness Council-Municipal Alliance were on hand at the Sept. 27 Montville Township Committee meeting to celebrate the proclamation.
“We have these doorknob hangers [with information about opioids], and we hope that if everybody gets them, they’ll be talking,” said Drug Awareness Council Vice Chairperson June Witty. “They’ll be talking with their neighbors, and start a conversation. Something as simple as having dental work or getting a sports injury has led, in the past, to opiate addiction. We’re grateful that the prescriptions, now, are limited to five – in the past, patients could get a full 30 days, unless you had documented cancer. If you see a doorknob hanger on your door, don’t throw it out. Pass it around – start a conversation.”
Township Administrator Victor Canning stated in 1991, across the U.S., there were 126 deaths from heroin and fentanyl. In the year 2015, he said, there were more than 32,000 deaths. In 2016, Montville Township led Morris County in opiate deaths, according to Mayor James Sandham.
Witty added that the Drug Awareness Council met with the Opiate Task Force two weeks ago and Morris County has had 60 overdose deaths by August, whereas in 2016, there were 53 by year-end.
“In addition, there have been 125 Narcan reversals,” Witty said. “Hopefully a conversation will help.”
Please see the photo gallery to see the doorknob hanger.
Director of Water and Sewer John Perry presented to the Township Committee on the Towaco aquifer. He stated the drainage area of the aquifer is 4.4 miles, while the boundary of the prime aquifer area is 1.25 square miles. The permeability of the area is 25 percent, he said, and it receives 5 to 5.9 million gallons of rainfall per day in an average year, while 3.3 million gallons per day goes into the ground across the entire drainage area to recharge the aquifer. Of that, two million gallons per day is the average recharge to the prime aquifer area per day, he said.
The “calculated safe yield” of the aquifer is two million gallons per day and replenishment is about two million gallons per day, so “theoretically it should hold its own,” he said. The township has all three wells located in the prime aquifer area, he said.
The township owns significant open space over the aquifer, Sandham pointed out.
“The aquifer is shaped like a bowl, and it’s confined,” Perry said. “About a third of its contents come from precipitation, one-third from runoff, and a third from water travelling laterally through bedrock formations.”
Perry said in case of emergency, the township has deals with the Jersey City reservoir to receive 500,000 gallons of water, as well as 300,000 from Lincoln Park.
Perry said the township protects the aquifer with zoning restrictions, as well as restrictions on what types of businesses can store items there. A study was conducted to check the impact after 200-day, five-year, and 12-year periods when new wells are drilled, in order to be aware of changes in aquifer usage. A study was also conducted last year regarding the runoff that comes from Route 287. The study determined the chemical contents of runoff and was used to develop a plan with responding fire departments in case of spillage after a highway accident to minimize runoff into streams that affect the aquifer, he said.
New businesses in Towaco are required to have a storm-water runoff plan, which cannot be negative, Perry said. These requirements are stricter than New Jersey requirements, Committee Member Deb Nielson pointed out.
A recharge study his department conducted found that while two million gallons per day recharge the aquifer, three to four million gallons per day leave the basin as runoff, Perry said.
“Increasing the detention time of that flow from precipitation will increase the groundwater recharge,” he said. “If we slow it down, or contain it, for a longer period of time it will percolate into the ground longer. By building or modifying retention basins, the water will stay in the area longer and we’ll get more recharge. This will be helpful in times when we need more recharge.”
Perry said retention basins could be built in open space areas to collect storm-water runoff from adjacent streets. Raising the dam and dredging the pond at Camp Dawson is another option, he said. Diverting the stream water that comes off Waughaw Mountain is yet another option, he said.
Sandham said, “We [conduct studies] because we’re very proactive about protecting the aquifer. We want to be prepared. We recognize the importance of the aquifer.”
Perry said he checks the aquifer level on a daily basis at one of the wells. A computer system allows Perry to see exactly how precipitation affects the aquifer, he said. Water quality testing is conducted every two weeks, he said. Baseline levels from 1998 have been compared to runoff from Route 287 and no significant changes have occurred, he said.
“Our water is hard, and sometimes sodium goes up and down because of road salt runoff from the highways,” he said, “but our water is very clean.”
Boy Scout Alex Park presented his proposal for his Eagle project to the committee. He would like to place railings on the bridges at Camp Dawson and repaint the trail markings. He planned on using two days for the project at a projected cost of just under $500.
The project was approved unanimously.
Editor’s note: The project was completed on Sept. 30/Oct. 1.
Route 202 in Lincoln Park will be paved starting Oct. 11 but unfortunately the county is waiting until the spring to repave Changebridge Road following gas line installation, Sandham said.