The Sewage-Free Streets and Rivers campaign submitted a letter to the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission (PVSC) Board of Commissioners on Monday, May 10, 2021. The 37 signatories asked that the costs of the regional upgrades be distributed among 48 municipalities in the PVSC region.

The PVSC is one of the largest sewer treatment plants in the country and serves 48 municipalities, eight of which have combined sewer systems. To meet requirements to reduce sewage overflows, PVSC and the eight communities with combined sewer systems submitted a regional combined sewer overflow (CSO) Long Term Control Plan (LTCP) to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP). The plan, which is currently under review by the NJDEP, proposes upgrades to the municipal sewer systems, as well as regional upgrades that will increase the capacity of the treatment plant. PVSC and the eight CSO municipal permit holders are engaged in ongoing negotiations regarding how the costs of a regional plan will be shared.

We are asking the board to:

  • Ensure that the cost for these upgrades is shared equitably between the PVSC and all 48 towns in the service area, including the eight CSO municipal permit holders (Newark, Jersey City, Bayonne, Harrison, East Newark, Kearny, Gutenberg, and Paterson).
  • Recognize the full hydrological benefit that the regional CSOLong Term Control Plan will create.
  • Consider the environmental justice impacts of these plans in light of the benefits of reducing combined sewer overflows for the region, the necessary associated construction harms that the plans will require, and whom will ultimately be impacted by the cost.
  • Reduce the cost to the City of Newark based on the burden from pollutants, odors, and traffic associated with the sewer treatment plant located within the city limits. The cumulative impacts of other industries located within the city’s limits, in addition to the construction of the interceptor, will contribute additional pollution and result in years of disruption in the daily lives of Newark community members.

Read the full letter here.

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