Bloomfield DPW Issues Public Service Announcement Regarding Township Sewer System

Monday, February 5, 2018

Bloomfield DPW Issues Public Service Announcement Regarding Township Sewer System

Residents and business owners advised to be very careful about what items they flush during the winter months, when sewers are more likely to backup

BLOOMFIELD, NJ -- The Bloomfield Department of Public Works and Parks is advising residents to follow simple safety guidelines when disposing of liquid waste such as grease and cooking oils, in order to prevent sewer backups that are more likely to occur during the winter months than any other time of year. The DPW advises residents and business owners to freeze oil or grease, and then throw it in the garbage, rather than flushing it down the sewer systems, where it can cause backups. Additionally, the DPW advises residents to have their pipes cleaned regularly, especially owners of houses built in the early 20th century or earlier.

“The distance from manhole to manhole stretches approximately 300 feet, which can cover several houses. If any homes in that system improperly flush items not suitable for that purpose, it can cause that entire stretch to become backed up,” said Director of Public Works and Parks Anthony Nesto. “When a backup occurs, we ask every department employee to treat every call we receive as if it were from the home of their mother, father, brother or sister, and I think that shows in our quick response time. Even during the weekend, our workers are on call.”

When residents call to report blockages, the DPW is on site within 30 minutes, according to Director Nesto.

A severe backup to the sewer main on Broad Street from Winding Lane to Meadow Lane occurred just before Christmas, causing flooding in several storefronts and basements. Grease, cooking oil and baby wipes account for almost 70% of our sewer backups and played a huge role in this particular backup, which required several days of DPW workers’ and private contractors’ efforts to repair and replace. Bloomfield Township is responsible for repairing any blockages that originate from the curb line to the sewer main, as was the case on Broad Street. If the block is in the homeowner’s pipes, however, responsibility for repairs and replacements rests with the homeowner. Small, solid items such as baby wipes can also lead to blockages, and should be put in the garbage rather than introduced into the sewer lines.

Following simple pipe safety guidelines can prevent backups and save residents money. Grease often freezes in the winter, increasing sewer backups.

Four new manholes and 100 linear feet of new sewer pipe were installed at a cost of $300,000 in the days following the Broad Street backup, and should not need to be replaced for 100 years. Additionally, Bloomfield Township recently purchased a $385,000 state of the art sewer truck at the request of the DPW. It is sent out daily Monday-Friday from 7:00am to 3:30pm for preventative maintenance. Approximately four to six preventative maintenances are done daily. The DPW will perform preventative maintenance at the following sites in the next two weeks:

13st – 15st; Skyview Rd; Glen Ridge Pkwy; Locust & Prospect (two times); John St; Lowell to Emerson; Division & Spring (two times); 467 Essex Ave; Hazelwood Rd; Liberty & State (Two times); James & Summit (Two times); 215-217 Berkeley Ave; Oaktree Lane (entire street, two times); Skyview Rd; Glen Ridge Pkwy; Watchung Ave & Phillips; 20 Berkeley Heights Park; Oak St; 296 Berkeley Ave; Charles St; Locust & Prospect; John St; 216-217 W. Passaic Ave; 36 Waldo; State at BHS; Lowell to Emerson; 128 Montgomery.

Residents with questions about the sewer improvements are encouraged to call the Bloomfield Township Engineer Paul Lasek at (973) 680-4009 or email plasek@bloomfieldtwpnj.com.

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