West Milford Township seeks another grant to keep gunk out of Greenwood Lake

  • Monday, 23 March 2015
  • northjersey.com

The local government, buoyed by the success of recent stormwater abatement projects around Greenwood Lake, is seeking additional funding to continue the effort.

Last week, the Township Council approved an application to the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) for a 2015 federal 319(h) grant to address stormwater-based pollution in the watershed. According to West Milford Environmental Commission Chairman Stephen Sangle, the commission is confident but still very much wishing for an award that would allow for additional water testing in Greenwood Lake and its main feeder stream, Belcher’s Creek, as well as the execution of a previously planned project at and around Marshall Hill Elementary School. That project, which was removed from the 2007 319(h) grant program due to permitting issues triggered by conservation easements, would regrade low-lying areas and improve sub-surface piping to divert runoff as well as create a rain garden at the nearby school.

"As we have already done a considerable amount of engineering (for the Marshall Hill project) under the 2007 319(h) grant, we are optimistic this will put us in a favorable situation," Sangle said. "At this time, we are hopeful. But there are no guarantees on the award."

According to reports from the township’s environmental services consultant, Princeton Hydro, the landscaping would detain stormwater to prevent plant-feeding phosphates from entering the lake and flooding the road around Marshall Hill School. And Sangle said a $620,000 state reforestation grant borne from the controversial Tennessee Gas Pipeline 300 Line Project could help supplement the effort.

"If we are awarded the grant, we will coordinate this work with the $620,000 reforestation grant for additional plantings at Marshall Hill School to add to the effect of protecting Greenwood Lake and controlling stormwater by improving the piping under Marshall Hill Road and adding a retention basin for stormwater runoff," he said.

Early estimates were that the project could prevent more total phosphates from entering the 1,920-acre lake each year than the seven recent, and primarily 319(h)-funded, projects to install vegetative swales and catch basin-mounted filtration devices combined. According to a report from Princeton Hydro, those projects have helped reduce the lake’s annual total phosphorous load by roughly 26 pounds a year. That same report estimated that mandatory pump-outs for the community's on-site wastewater treatment systems are helping to cut another 160, and mechanical weed harvesting gets 42.

Still, surface runoff has been estimated to contribute nearly 3,600 pounds in total phosphates per year, according to the DEP. That amount represents 39 percent of the lake’s annual load. Internal loading from phosphorous that escapes lake sediment has been credited for nearly 42 percent of the load and septic systems within 656 feet of the lake another 17. However, those estimates do not factor in phosphorus originating from septic systems in the Belcher’s Creek Watershed, like those around Pinecliff Lake, according to the bi-state Greenwood Lake Commission’s 2011 management plan.

The proposed testing program, Sangle said, could help reveal additional sources of phosphates and prioritize existing areas of concern. Belcher’s Creek is a likely target as the 2011 plan claimed that more than 40 percent of the lake’s total phosphorous loading comes from that specific watershed.

During last week’s town council meeting, Councilman Lou Signorino thanked the Environmental Commission, the Greenwood Lake Commission, and the clerk’s office for jumping on the opportunity that could allow the township to continue the beneficial stormwater abatement projects.

"This is very important for Greenwood Lake. This is very important for West Milford," Signorino said.

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

aqualete industries - wts2000 - article

Aqualete Industries
3417 Sunset Avenue
Ocean, NJ 07712
P: 732.695.6336