Published in The Coast Star on October 31, 2002
Page 1, cont. 18
After being a point of contention for several years, the United States
Army and Wall Township have reached an agreement in which the sanitary sewers in the historic section of Camp Evans will be replaced at the Army’s expense.
Learning Center Director Fred Carl met at Camp Evans on Thursday afternoon to announce
the agreement.property will eventually be conveyed from the Army to the Department of the Interior, and then to Wall Township.
Several organizations, however, including Wall Township, have signed agreements with the Army and are currently using portions of the former camp.
Thirty-seven acres of the property will be utilized as a learning center focusing on Camp
Evans’ long history in radar and telecommunications research by InfoAge, a non-profit education organization. This is the portion of Camp Evans where the new sewer lines will be installed.
Township Administrator Joseph Verruni said that once the Army has completed the installation of the new sewer lines, which is scheduled to be completed by April 1, the township will then
assume the responsibility of installing laterals connecting several non-historic buildings to
the main line.
Under the terms of the agreement, the Army will bear the cost – and perform the work of replacing the sanitary sewer line, which the Army removed after the discovery of mercury
contamination. The replacement of the sewer line is estimated to cost $290,000.
Camp Evans, a 100-acre parcel of land in Wall Township, was identified for closure in 1993
under the Base Realignment and Closure Program [BRAC]. The Although the Army had initially
refused to replace the sewer lines, stating that the effort would constitute an upgrade of the property it was about to turn over to Wall Township – in violation of Department of Defense regulations the Army was eventually persuaded to see the township’s position .
“We have always taken the position that [replacing] the sewers was’ not an -upgrade,”
Township Attorney Roger McLaughlin said.
Mr. McLaughlin said sewers existed on the property when the township agreed to accept the
land from the Army, adding that the mercury contamination was not discovered until after the
township agreed to accept the property.
Mr. McLaughlin said that in exchange for the replacement of the sewer lines by the Army, Wall Township will accept the buildings on the property in their currrent
condition . He said all the buildings that were previously connected to sewer service will be
reconnected by the Army, and added that the township’s public works department will run sanitary sewer service to a number of buildings that were not connected before the removal of the contaminated lines.
Mr. Verruni echoed Mr. McLaughlin’s remarks, and said that following a meeting between
township and Department of Defense officials and Congressman Smith, the Army was convinced that replacing the sewers would not constitute an upgrade of the property.
“Ultimately, the Army did the right thing for the residents of Wall Township,” Mr. Verruni said,
“so we [the township] can spend our money on the upkeep of the buildings rather than on sewers .”
Mr. McLaughlin and Mr. Verruni both thanked everyone involved in the agreement,
Congressman Smith in particular, for their efforts.
“Congressman Smith was very, very helpful,” Mr. McLaughlin said. The announcement was also lauded by Wall residents who have a long-standing involvement with Camp Evans.
Mr. Carl said the Army’s about face on the replacement of the sewers will benefit InfoAge’s
“It would have been difficult to ask people to donate money for buildings where you can’t even use the restroom,” Mr. Carl said. “Asking for donations for a septic system is not attractive.”
Mr. Carl said that early on in the process, Infoage was told it would be getting buildings in
“immediate usable condition,” and said it was “quite maddening” when the sewers were removed
and the Army would not agree to a replacement project.
“Without septic systems, it made the Army liars,” Mr. Carl said.
However, he added, thanks to the efforts of the Restoration Advisory Board, Congressman
Smith and the township committee, “it’s a thing of the past .”
“Needless to say, we’re elated,” said Robert McAllen, chairman of the Wall Township RAB.
“Without a doubt, the RAB has tenaciously stuck with the issue since it was first brought up .”
Mr. McAllen said RAB members – many of whom have been involved with the board since its
inception in 1994 – “have worked very, very hard on a number of projects, including the sewers, which will make the site much better.”
Mr. McAllen said he sees the replacement of the sewer lines as a benefit not only to Wall
Township, but to the Army as well.
He said one of the goals of the RAB, and the goal of Infoage “is to preserve the legacy of Camp Evans since it was first turned over to the Army in 1940 .”
Mr. McAllen said a number of secret and top secret projects were conducted at Camp Evans . He added that by providing sewer service to the buildings, the Army will be helping to preserve its own “legacy so people know the Army’s efforts . . . to make America a safe place to be .”
Mr. McAllen also extended his gratitude to Maj. Doug Hinnant, who was one of several Army
officials who attended a meeting at Camp Evans with township officials and representatives from
Congressman Smith’s office earlier
“If it hadn’t been for Doug and others in [Washington,] D.C., this probably wouldn’t have happened,” Mr. McAllen said . “At the end of the day, the Army came through and did the right thing .”
Henry Kearney, Fort Monmouth spokesman, said the Army’s decision to replace the
sewers came following a series of meetings over the past several months between Department of the Army BRAC officials and federal, state, and local officials.
After those meetings, Mr. Kearney said a memorandum of agreement regarding the sewer
replacement between the Army and Wall Township was initiated.
“We want to be as responsive as possible as we prepare to transfer the property,” Mr. Kearney said. He added that the Army has spent $22 million on remediating environmental issues at Camp Evans.
“We’ve always wanted to work with the community and be cooperative, and, as best as possible, meet the needs of the community” Mr. Kearney said.