Sparta to foot some of the bill for the state's new clean water regulations

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:17

    SPARTA-With cleaner water comes additional costs to Sparta taxpayers. New Jersey has recently enacted new storm water runoff regulations for all municipalities in the state. As part of the guidelines, some 3,800 roadside catch basins in the township will need to be modified. The new basins will have smaller openings, in order to limit the amount of debris entering the structures. "The openings in the inlets are smaller to prevent floatables, litter, and solids from entering the storm water collection system that would ultimately be discharged into water surfaces," said Township Engineer Charles Ryan. "It's intended to reduce pollution and to ultimately maintain water quality." Most water collected in Sparta's catch basins is dispensed into local ponds, streams, lakes, and wetlands. Over the course of the next 10 years, the Sparta Department of Public Works will install the new basins on all roadways undergoing resurSeneca Lake Club, the new dam is about completed and the lake will start to be filled "probably in the next weeks or so." The group has requested assistance from the state to perform a "controlled burn" to get rid of the brush now covering the lake bed. Depending on weather conditions, they expect the first phase of the burn to take place Nov. 1. "The controlled burn is the least costly method for us," said Sheridan, explaining that the other options included using chemicals or dredging the area. For the Seneca Lake community, reaching this point has not been easy or inexpensive. The $530,000 needed to complete the project was secured through a Small Business Administration loan to be paid by the homeowners. Residents will pay between $300 and $500 annually depending on their location of their home to cover the 30 year loan. "The community voted to repair the dam. We had a very positive response," said Sheridan, adding that the area residents understand importance of the lake in their community. "The lake is for the children in the neighborhood to fish, to swim. For the mothers to take their children in the summertime to play and to socialize," he said. "The lake is the focal point of our community and it's been gone for a couple of years. It's a wonderful thing to have it back." In their efforts to defray some of the cost of bringing the lake back to life, the club has sponsored several fundraisers. On Nov. 1, the group will be hosting "A Taste of Autumn," a five-course dinner and wine pairing at Zoe's by the Lake restaurant. Tickets for the event are $75 per person. All the proceedings will go to the Seneca Lake Restoration Project. For reservations call 973-726-7226. "We are in hopes that maybe there will be some skating this winter," said Sheridan. "This is a great little neighborhood and great little lake and we are anxious to have it put back together."