The Sparta Township Council agreed to hire CP Engineering to prepare a study of options for the White Deer Plaza waste water treatment facility.
The facility operates near or at its 50,000 gallons-per-day capacity and is in need of upgrades, Township Manager David Troust said. The study could cost $50,000.
The facility is approaching the end of its effective 30-year lifespan.
CP Engineering owner Stan Puszcz said the first step is identifying the regulations that apply to the facility and preparing the documents that would be needed to move forward.
He said the options for the facility are to upgrade the facility for better treatment, or to convert the site into a pumping station. The White Deer Plaza station serves the township center, the core of the township’s business district.
He said the Highlands Council, the group that oversees the Highlands Act that protects the watershed in Sussex County, has backed the study and offered a grant to cover to cost of the study.
Puszcz said the improved White Deer Plaza facility could allow for more businesses to locate in the township center, making the shopping district more attractive.
Mayor Gilbert Gibbs sought a clarification of the choices.
“So it’s either an upgrade or basically a new facility,” he asked.
Puszcz said the study would consider the cost of repairs and the operation costs of both options.
Keeping the site as a treatment facility would require upgrades to meet modern standards, he said.
The other choice would be to convert the White Deer Plaza facility into a sewerage collection site from which the material would be conveyed through existing sewer pipes to a treatment facility in Hardyston.
Troust said the existing sewer pipe system is adequate to handle the capacity of material that would be transferred from White Deer Plaza, if that was the option eventually chosen.