Smart CSO Control Plans
Many of New Jersey’s oldest cities still rely on combined sewer systems — systems in which stormwater runoff from city streets feeds into sewer lines and is treated, along with sewage, by treatment plants. Some of these systems are more than 100 years old.
During heavy rainfalls the volume of stormwater in the older, combined systems can overwhelm the capacity of the treatment plant. When that happens, combined sewage can overflow into area waterways, or back up into streets, public spaces such as parks, and sometimes even residential basements. This makes the sewage treatment plant operator vulnerable to lawsuits under the federal Clean Water Act.
Jersey Water Works’ initial efforts involve working with communities and utilities that have combined sewer systems, to help them identify and implement the appropriate combination of strategies to reduce sewer overflows.
An index of resources categorized by their pertinence to the Long-Term Control Plan process and intended for permit holders can be found here: JerseyWaterWorks.org/CSOLTCPresources
Jersey Water Works Comments on the Long Term Control Plans
Jersey Water Works recognizes the immense efforts devoted to creating and implementing the CSO permits by the NJDEP within a five year timeline. Jersey Water Works also recognizes the time and efforts that each permit holder has put in place to the development of the Long Term Control Plan. We understand that these plans will require significant investment to reduce the combined sewer overflows that plague our most vulnerable communities. Some of the comments pertain to all plans and others to specific plans. They also pertain to both the SIARs and considerations for future CSO permit conditions. The intent of the comments is to ultimately ensure that the plans, with their technical feats and considerable investment, are equitable for the communities that they are meant to benefit. The four Jersey Water Works committees (CSO, Green Infrastructure, Asset Management & Finance, and Education & Outreach) respectfully submitted the following comments on the Long Term Control Plans.
NJ Water Workforce Training Program Inventory
Water is a natural resource, but to manage it, protect it, and use it for drinking water requires millions of workers. These essential workers design, construct, and operate water infrastructure. The water sector offers a number of employment opportunities that often need specific qualifications or licensing. The New Jersey Water Workforce Training Program Inventory is a compilation of information prepared by the Jersey Water Works CSO Committee and was published in December 2020. The inventory highlights training programs in the water sector. Many of the training providers on the list are organizations and unions in New Jersey that focus on construction, engineering, green infrastructure, and related trades.
Wells of Opportunity: Training Residents and Prioritizing Local Hiring for Water Infrastructure Projects in Newark
In the face of generational demands for water infrastructure investment, along with relatively high levels of unemployment, the City of Newark has instituted training programs to help bolster its water workforce. This report, produced by the Jersey Water Works CSO Committee, features two sections:
1) Newark’s Lead Service Line Apprenticeship Program: This describes the special apprenticeship program that was created to supply qualified residents for Newark’s fast-moving lead service line replacement program.
2) Newark’s Green Infrastructure Training Programs: This describes two programs, Ironbound Community Corporation Green Infrastructure Training Program and Newark Green Works, which were created partly in anticipation of the city’s combined sewer overflow (CSO) Long Term Control Plan (LTCP). The LTCP is expected to feature green infrastructure projects and will begin implementation in 2021.These programs can serve as models for other cities throughout New Jersey, and even the nation, that also seek to benefit from both training and prioritizing their local workforce to tackle water infrastructure challenges.
Bolstering the Water Workforce with Innovative Programs
In the City of Camden, two programs were created to train residents of low-income communities and communities of color in green infrastructure maintenance and/or connect them to employment opportunities, including those in the water industry. One is PowerCorps Camden, administered by Center for Family Services and Camden County Municipal Utilities Authority, among others, and the other is Camden Works, administered by Center for Family Services and Cooper’s Ferry Partnership, among others. This case study details how these workforce training programs are structured, providing an overview that communities can refer to if they wish to create their own program. It also features insight on factors for success and lessons learned as these programs have navigated their first few years of operation.
Assessing Public Input and Consideration of Green Infrastructure in NJ CSO Reports
This paper, Assessing Public Input and Consideration of Green Infrastructure in NJ CSO Reports, assesses how well the Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) Development and Evaluation of Alternatives Reports meet the Jersey Water Works (JWW) goals for “Smart CSO Plans.”
The Development and Evaluation of Alternative Reports (DEARs) were submitted to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) in July 2019, with a deadline for the final LTCPs of October 2020. The committee reviewed 24 reports submitted on behalf of 25 permit holders; some reports were consolidated based on regional reports. Nine regional collaborations of sewage treatment plants and municipal permit holders worked together on the development and evaluation of alternatives. Of the 25 permit holders, the City of Trenton was the single permit holder not included in this review because the City has already submitted its LTCP.
This paper summarizes the committee’s findings, with focus on the types of alternatives evaluated, green infrastructure considerations, and extent of public participation.