Published in The Coast Star on July 27, 2000 by Desiree DiCorcia
The Wall Township Committee has joined in the fight to have the Army replace the sewers it recently removed from the historic district at Camp Evans.
The township has contacted Congressman Chris Smith’s office in the hopes that he can better convince the Army to replace the sewers at Camp Evans, as part of its remedial effort at the site.
Township Administrator Joseph L. Verruni, who attended Tuesday’s Restoration Advisory Board [RAB) meeting, stated, “We believe that the Army should replace the sewers before transferring the property for reuse.”
Community Co-Chairman of the RAB, Robert McAllan, informed the board that the township and the RAB are in agreement regarding the importance of having a sewer system for re-use.
Mr. McAllan noted that unlike the futile effort to have the Army remove the lead-based paint from the site, sewer replacement is still a possibility.
“I question the relevance of a transfer with water, electricity and heat, but no ability to flush the water down the drain,” stated Mr. McAllan.
While understanding the magnitude of the gift it will be receiving from the Army, the RAB and township feel that by conveying buildings which are not reusable, the Army is violating its own bible on remediation efforts.
The RAB has argued that the Army’s Base Re-Use and Implementation Manual requires it to transfer buildings which are slated for reuse to be functioning. To the RAB and township, this means having a functioning sewer system
The main concern is the buildings in. the historic district, which will be rendered non-reusable without sewers.
In order to aid in its effort, the township has contacted the state’s Historic Preservation Office, which has already designated the camp as an official historic district.
At Tuesday’s meeting, Chuck Appleby, the project manager at the Fort Monmouth Testing Laboratory, informed the board that the entire sewer system has been removed from the camp.
Mr. Appleby explained that all of the lines that were damaged in the excavation will be replaced except for the sewer lines. There will be water, electricity and fuel available in the buildings at the historic district.
“The Army is still committed to reuse. It is just focusing on making sure the buildings have heat, electric and water. The main concern of the Army is that the buildings have heat, in order to maintain the structures,” stated Mr. Appleby.
Early this year, the Army announced its intention to remove the sewers through the camp, because it detected mercury in the piping. To be safe, the Army removed the entire sewer system.
The controversy arose when the Army announced its intention not to replace the nearly 6,400 feet of sewers that were removed.
Base Transition Coordinator for the Army, Mike Ruane, explained that the Army simply does not have the money to replace the lines. The Army justified its decision by deeming the sewer replacement project as an improvement, not a necessary remediation.
The Army declared Camp Evans a surplus property several years ago, and will convey the property to Wall Township after remediation of
the site is concluded. Portions of the 208-acre site may also be conveyed to some non-profit and educational institutions, including approximately 60 acres to Brookdale Community College for a southern campus.