Hopewell Township announced yesterday that an internal audit, conducted in December of 2015, of sewage flows, revealed that the Brandon Farms area wastewater collection system experienced abnormally high daily flows.
The high flow is an indication that extraneous water, such as groundwater or other outside sources of water, are infiltrating into the system. These abnormally high flows are a factor in the larger-than-normal wastewater treatment costs for the Brandon Farms system.
Since the system users pay all costs of operation, including treatment costs to the Ewing Lawrence Sewerage Authority (ELSA), it is necessary and prudent to engage in a study to pinpoint the sources and stop the extraneous flow.
Therefore, a Phase 1 analysis of wastewater flows tributary to the Brandon Farms Pumping Station will be performed. The objective of the Phase 1 analysis is to determine the extent of extraneous flow occurring from the major service areas within the overall tributary area to the pumping station (as well as the overall tributary area) during a period of significant rainfall/high groundwater conditions.
Wastewater flow meters will monitor wastewater flows in the system on a 24/7 basis. A computer model will be created to log actual water usage in the system and actual water used will be compared to actual wastewater flows. This study will take place from mid-March through mid-April. Should Phase 1 indicate significant extraneous flows in any service area, a more intense system investigation designed to locate the sources of the extraneous flow could be considered by the Township under Phase 2.
The costs of the Phase 1 study will be $22,500. As with all other system costs, this cost is to be paid by the users of the wastewater system however, the purpose of this study is again to eliminate sources of extraneous flows that are already increasing the system operation costs.
In addition to the abnormally high flows, the December audit also revealed that there are new users in the Brandon Farms sewer system that have not received bills for their sewer service. These users have since been billed for services not previously invoiced and a process has been implemented to insure such billing errors will not occur again. Revenue for sewage usage not previously billed will replenish surplus for the ELSA system.