By Christopher Sheldon
The Long Branch Sewerage Authority has been given approval by the city council to begin a $9.4 million project that would make improvements to its treatment facility and replace nearly 3 miles of collection system piping.
Long Branch Sewerage Authority Executive Director Joe Martone said many of the elements of the project would fix and improve features of the facility that were damaged by Hurricane Sandy.
The underwater outfall pipe suffered damage after the straps and brackets that held it to the ocean floor loosened or broke after the hurricane, and they would be replaced as part of the project, Martone said.
Flood barriers and submersible pumps would also be installed in the basement of the facility, the inlet channel would be sealed and secured and several control units would be raised so they could not be damaged if the area were to flood.
Sewerage authority auditor Dave Kaplan said reimbursements for damage caused by Hurricane Sandy from FEMA have been "coming in slow." He said many of those improvements will be reimbursed once the funding is in place.
"We borrowed $1.8 million for Sandy repairs and we have to pay that back in March," Martone said.
The $1.8 million is included in the total cost of the project, he said.
Martone said 2.9 miles of collection system pipe will also be repaired and several manholes will be replaced. He said several roads have been prioritized by the authority including Willow Avenue and sections of Sairs Avenue, Liberty Street and Ocean Avenue.
He said the city has about 100 miles of pipe and only about 35 percent has been replaced.
The improvement project is expected to begin this spring.