Franklin to bring in cameras to check water leaks

| 22 Feb 2012 | 08:02

    Five-year test will find trouble spots, clean and repair them, By Mark J. Yablonsky FRANKLIN — There’s simply too much water getting in to the borough’s sewer system. And Franklin is going to find out where it’s coming from. At the moment, officials suspect that leaks or defects are to blame. The sewer system has been collecting more than its normal share of stormwater runoff, which ends up costing Franklin thousands of dollars extra each year in fees once the excess water reaches county sewage treatment facilities. “Some of the lines are close to a hundred years old,” conceded borough administrator Richard R. Wolak, referring to the system built by, and eventually bequeathed from, the New Jersey Zinc Co. “What we have found, through an engineering study, is that we have extra water entering the system. What is significant is that the stormwater is integrating into our sanitary sewer system; and it ends up going to the Sussex County Municipal Utilities Authority plant, and we end up paying extra for the treatment.” Borough officials are emphasizing that in no way does this problem affect the borough’s drinking water; it is “separate altogether,” assured councilman Jack Stoll. So far, the borough has found that the more rain the town gets, the more stormwater runoff enters the system. Some areas in town more affected than others. “Basically, we need to find out where the runoff is coming from,” Stoll explained. “So that’s why we need this study so we can find out what’s going on.” The study, based on a five-year plan, will enable Franklin to clearly identify the trouble spots via underground cameras, do some “minor cleaning,” and if necessary, conduct repairs, Wolak said. The cameras are equipped with GPS indicators. Rain signals extra flow “We’ve first had our engineers put monitoring in at certain points, and we found out, especially after a rain, that there is a significant gallonage flowing into the system,” Wolak said. “Phase two, to address this, is that we actually have to conduct a camera inspection of the lines to determine those points of origin. Hopefully, at the completion of this (five-year) period, our water system should be more efficient.” He called the benefits of the research “two-fold. After five years, we would have inspected our entire system and performed maintenance; and the second benefit is obvious: saving money. We’ve identified a problem and we’re trying to take a methodological approach, and we are trying to correct it at a minimal cost to the borough.” To be sure, the cost of the cameras — whether the borough hires an outside firm or conducts its own “in house” inspection — may not be cheap, borough officials say. But state DEP guidelines want each town to ensure itself of “a sealed system.” “We’ve done all the physical inspections that we can above ground, and now we need to go underground,” added Wolak. “And that’s where the cameras come in.”