HOWELL – Officials from New Jersey American Water recently marked the completion of a $26.2 million expansion project with a ceremony at the Oak Glen Water Treatment Plant on Squankum-Yellowbrook Road, Howell.
Company officials said the project was undertaken to ensure the stability of the water supply and to provide flexibility to support continued growth in Monmouth and Ocean counties.
The Oak Glen plant was constructed in 2003 and remains one of the most critical water supply assets to the region and local economy, according to the company.
The plant is part of New Jersey American Water’s Coastal North water system, which serves a population of about 335,000 in Monmouth and Ocean counties. The plant is on an 11.6-acre parcel, along a river-reservoir pipeline, with two primary sources of water: the Manasquan River and the Manasquan Reservoir.
Cheryl Norton, president of New Jersey American Water and senior vice president of the Eastern Division of American Water, said, “This project is really important to the customers in this community, but it also sets the stage for American Water and the proactive approach we take to make sure we are meeting the customers’ needs.
“There is a lot of planning that goes into (a project) and a whole team of people who made this happen. This plant was commissioned in 2003 and frankly the community has just outgrown it. So we needed to do a major expansion here to make sure we can provide safe, clean water to customers in the area,” Norton said.
In recent years, peak demands have increased at the plant, primarily due to rapid population growth in the region, according to the company.
In 2014, the increase in population prompted the company to consider alternatives to meet the growing demand in an area that is water resource-stressed. New Jersey American Water officials said they evaluated the current state and potential future needs of the Oak Glen plant and proposed a solution.
The Oak Glen expansion began in 2016. The project, which the company said cost more than $26 million, includes enhancements and upgrades that were needed to meet peak demands and increases in the regional demand for potable water.
With the upgrades, the maximum capacity at the plant was increased from 10 million gallons per day to 17.5 million gallons per day, according to New Jersey American Water.
The enhancements included an addition to the process building to house additional water treatment equipment; the installation of an additional pump in the distributive pump station; the installation of a third backwash clarifier; and a new standby electric power generator to replace the existing unit, providing emergency power for the facility.
There were upgrades to the chemical feed, electrical, and instrumentation and control systems; the addition of a pole barn for equipment storage and maintenance; upgrades to the grounds and other site improvements.
Attending the ribbon cutting ceremony were Farmingdale Mayor James Daly, Farmingdale Borough Council President Michael Romano, Farmingdale Councilwoman Kaaren Corallo, Howell Township Manager Brian Geoghegan and Howell Director of Community Development Jim Herrman.
Daly said he was happy to see New Jersey American Water improve the plant.
“I think it’s great for the area, a wonderful thing for Farmingdale and its residents. We have always had a great relationship with New Jersey American Water and I am looking forward to that being an even better relationship,” Daly said.