Million-dollar plan hatched to protect Bergen Co. water

Bergen County officials want a solution to ensure an exposed sewage line doesn't cause catastrophic damage.

Last summer, the joints on a section of sewer pipe running along Pascack Brook in Westwood nearly gave out. The pipe's coupling came within an inch of falling off. Had the pipe burst, hundreds of thousands of gallons of raw sewage could have potentially poisoned the creek, and drinking water for 800,000 residents could have been contaminated.

The borough was able to use waterproof concrete to seal the joints and avert disaster. Officials say the sewage line is still at risk. They are looking to replace it, encase the replacement in concrete and then rebury the pipe beneath a reconfigured bank.

The price for the preventative measures would be around $1 million and could mean higher taxes. Westwood residents say they would have no choice but to accept the deal and avert an environmental disaster.

"'We can live without a lot of things, but we can't live without water,'' says Westwood resident Neil Volant.

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