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$55 million sewer expansion to proceed

The Camden County Freeholder Board and Municipal Utilities Authority (CCMUA) announced Monday that they would proceed with the Atlantic Basin Interceptor Project to expand sewer capacity in six municipalities.

Considered a prerequisite for economic development and new construction, sewer capacity will be expanded in Berlin Borough, Berlin Township, Chesilhurst, Pine Hill, Waterford Township, and Winslow Township under the $55 million project.

The project is being funded by a combination $53 million low-interest loan and $2 million grant from the New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Trust Fund.

"This project and increase in [sewer] capacity is the culmination of years of hard work and coordination between the CCMUA, the municipalities and the state," Camden County Freeholder Jeffrey L. Nash, liaison to the CCMUA, said in a statement. "The expansion of this utility will improve and enhance the quality of life for residents in the southern region of the county and the overall environment in South Jersey for generations to come."

The sewer expansion is expected to discontinue the discharge of 2.4 million gallons of less-than-optimally treated wastewater into the groundwaters of the Pinelands National Reserve, the Mullica River, and the Great Egg Harbor River each day, Nash said.

Two pumping stations and 25 miles of new sewer lines were added to allow the half-dozen affected towns to issue sewer permits and connection fees for the first time in several years, resulting in new revenue for them.

One example: CarMax, a used car retailer, plans to open its first New Jersey facility in Winslow Township next to 30,000 square feet of retail this year, thanks largely to having more sewer capacity there.

Operational cost savings also are expected for the CCMUA from eliminating three antiquated wastewater treatment plants in Winslow Township, Ancora State Psychiatric Hospital, and Camden County Technical School under the project. - Suzette Parmley