Published in The Coast Star on March 9, 2000
“There just isn’t the money there to do all the things that we would like to do. The Army’s money is not an endless pipeline,” stated Army Base Transition Coordinator Mike Ruane at the March 7 meeting.
The Army justified its decision by referencing its “Base Re-Use Implementation Manual”, which specifies that installing utilities is not part of the Army’s normal maintenance responsibility.
Instead, the Army has classified the sewer project as an improvement. Under the conditions of the manual, the Army is prohibited from performing any upgrades or improvements on the base.
A written copy of the Army’s decision reads,”The Army’s interpretation of the manual is that this pr ohibits reinstalling or replacing sewage pipe removed to remediate a facility.”
However, Mr. Ruane tried to emphasize to the RAB that the underlying problem with replacing the piping is the money.
“We have already spent over $30 million on Camp Evans. We just don’t have the money fight now, and there are many other projects that have been halted because of this project,” added Mr. Ruane.
Mr. Ruane explained to the board that more and more bases are closing down, while the Army’s funding is also decreasing.
“It may appear that the Army is not giving away the farm, but we are giving away a lot – a lot of. property of substantial value to someone for nothing,” added Chuck Appleby, the project manager at the Fort Monmouth Testing Laboratory.
A few months ago, the RAB unanimously voted to request that the Army completely remove the camp’s sewer system. after mercury was detected in the piping.
The project consists of removing 6,400 feet of sewer lines throughout the camp, including the historic district.
At February’s meeting, the RAB scolded the Army for proposing to do only half of the necessary work to meet its transfer criteria. The RAB then voted unanimously on a motion which requested that the Army consider re-connecting the historic buildings to sewers in order to make them re-usable.
The RAB argued that the Army’s own Base Re-Use and Implementation Manual requires it to transfer only functioning buildings that are intended for re-use.
At Tuesday’s meeting, the RAB continued to scold the Army, even after the final verdict was announced.
Board member Jim Stigliano stated that, “money should not be an issue. If it needs to, the Army should sell a stealth bomber.”
Mr. Stigliano also argued thatreplacing the piping was not an improvement, but part of the Army’s commitment to transferring a clean, safe and re-usable piece of property.
“The United States Government enjoyed the liberty and luxury of not having to pay taxes to Wall Township while the Camp was in existence. The least you could have done was have the courtesy to replace the pipes,” he added.
The Army, however, based its decision on the following two reasons, which were pulled from the Base Re-Use Implementation Manual, and included written decision:
1. “The Manual specifies that installing utilities is not considered part of normal maintenance responsibility. The manual also prohibits improvements or upgrades to utility systems to comply with local code or for other reasons.”
2. “In addition, the Federal Regulations covering Base Closure Community Assistance also prohibit the use of BRAC funds for this purpose.”
This code states that no improvements shall be undertaken, except for health, safety or environmental purposes.
Therefore, removing the piping falls under the health, safety and environmental imperative, while replacing the piping is categorized as an improvement.
Mr. Stigliano advised the RAB that it would be easier to lay new
(See SEWER page 48)
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