Basin due for upgrades

Staff Writer

JACKSON — Improvements to a township owned storm-water basin are scheduled for early next year, as Jackson and state officials look to improve the quality of water that is headed to Barnegat Bay.

According to Township Engineer Dan Burke, a detention storm-water basin off Wilson Boulevard is slated for a bio-retention upgrade. The state is expected to provide $1.3 million in funding for the work.

“The township has dozens, if not hundreds, of basins,” Burke said. “[We plan to] upgrade this basin from its original design to a higher level of quality output so the [water that] reaches the Barnegat Bay is not as contaminated as it currently is.”

The funding will come from legislation signed by Gov. Chris Christie on Aug. 4 that included about $16 million from the New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Trust for projects designed to help restore the bay.

The basin in question is currently set up as a detention-style basin. During periods of heavy rain, water collects at the detention basin, allowing the sediment to rest at the bottom while the low-flow drainage system gradually releases the water back into the region’s watershed.

Such basins are generally needed when an area gets developed with mostly impermeable surfaces like concrete, which could cause flooding and increased runoff of pollutants into the water supply, officials said.

The basin, which was designed to drain water for a 55-acre tract of land on Wilson Boulevard, will receive a nitrogen removal system.

According to the state Department of Environmental Protection, nitrogen from fertilizer runoff has been a major factor in damage to Barnegat Bay.

“This is a new generation of basins which helps remove the nutrients,” Burke said. “It’s an enhanced system that we are putting within the confines of that existing basin.”

Funding for the project has already been allocated by the state, but the money will not be awarded until March 2012, with construction to begin shortly after.

“We have met their prioritization requirements and we are fairly high up on the list,” Burke said. “It may go into construction as early asApril or May if we can send the project out to bid over the winter.”