The Manasquan Borough Council this week hired an engineering firm to help resolve ongoing problems at the new water treatment plant.
Black and Veatch Engineers were retained at a cost of $10,000 — to be reimbursed by the borough's regular engineering firm, T&M Associates — for chemical feed engineering services, the resolution says.
The firm is tasked with analyzing key drawings and documents related to the construction of the plant and guiding officials in its operations, the resolution says.
An operations manager visited the plant last week. A draft report is expected by the end of this week, officials said.
“We’re moving forward with addressing our needs at the water plant,” Borough Administrator Joe DeIorio said.
Attorney Mark Kittrick will review the report first to assess whether there are any matters of potential litigation before disclosing, officials said.
“It may or may not be [public record], because if there’s information that might address some potential litigation we cannot release that information,” DeIorio said.
DeIorio said that the pH levels, which for months had been inconsistent, have been narrowed into the desired range of 7.6 to 7.8 since last week.
Those “blips” were a result of regular maintenance at the plant, particularly the lime feeder, DeIorio said.
Officials are also monitoring iron at residencies, hydrants and public facilities, he said.
Since Sept. 15, iron readings at hydrants have been under the desired level of 0.3, but at some homes the reading is higher, DeIorio said.
Officials are looking at possible maintenance measures to “flush out” some of the systems in the Willow Way area, where residents since the plant came online have been experiencing discolored, odorous water.
“We are taking a proactive approach to try to address these matters. We haven’t forgotten about [the residents],” DeIorio said.
DeIorio said the borough is still considering couponing and/or pigging options, but will consult with experts before implementing any measures that could risk further exacerbate the problems.
Couponing involves cutting out 12-inch sections of the pipes to analyze the condition of the lines and the extent of iron build-up, Borough Engineer Charlie Rooney has said.
If the integrity of the pipes were deemed viable, officials would then remove the iron build-up, or tuberculant, through pigging the water line, officials have said.
But pigging, opposed to replacing the pipes altogether, isn't necessarily a much cheaper fix, Rooney has said.
"And as much as it's not as expensive as replacing the pipes, it's not an inexpensive proposition," Rooney said.
Pigging would cost roughly $75 per foot of pipe, Rooney said Monday.