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In re Formal Complaint of Township of Lakewood

Decided: February 4, 1954.

IN THE MATTER OF FORMAL COMPLAINT OF TOWNSHIP OF LAKEWOOD
v.
LAKEWOOD WATER COMPANY -- IN RE REFUSAL TO EXTEND SEWERAGE FACILITIES IN THE TOWNSHIP OF LAKEWOOD. TOWNSHIP OF LAKEWOOD, APPELLANT, V. LAKEWOOD WATER COMPANY AND BOARD OF PUBLIC UTILITY COMMISSIONERS, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC UTILITIES, STATE OF NEW JERSEY, RESPONDENTS



Jayne, Francis and Smalley. The opinion of the court was delivered by Francis, J.A.D.

Francis

Appellant, Township of Lakewood, seeks a reversal of the action of the Public Utility Commission in refusing to order the respondent, Lakewood Water Company, to extend its sewer facilities to the area in question unless certain conditions imposed by the utility relating to the financing of the extension are met.

The water company has an exclusive franchise for the construction, maintenance and operation of water and sewerage facilities in the Township of Lakewood.

A recently developed section of the township, called "Lakewood Village," comprises an area of three blocks and contains 58 low cost homes occupied largely by World War II veterans and their families. The water company furnishes water to these families but no sewer facilities. When the homes were

constructed during 1950 and 1951, dry wells and septic tanks for the disposal of sewage were installed by the developer with the consent of the municipality.

In a short time it was demonstrated that these septic tanks and dry wells are inadequate because the area is lowland with a high water table. Consequently, when heavy rains occur water gets into the cellars, the septic tanks and dry wells run over and the effluvium seeps back into the cellars and over the ground surface and creates a serious health hazard. The sanitation inspector of the township testified:

"Q. And you say it is getting worse?

A. That's right.

Q. What was your experience there during the recent heavy rains?

A. Well, most of the cellars had anywhere from six inches to a foot of water in them and they had to install sump pumps to try to keep the water out, but the main problem is, the cesspools are continually running over, and all these families are young people and they all have a lot of children and with summer coming on, they play out in the back yard and there is a cesspool right there and sooner or later it is going to create a terrific epidemic, and that is what we are trying to avoid.

Q. That is your one great fear, that an epidemic may occur?

A. That's right, it may occur at any time.

Q. What type of a community is Lakewood? What is its chief industry?

A. Lakewood is a health resort and it would certainly be very devastating to the Township as a whole to ever have a plague of any kind."

Study of the problem by the governing body of the municipality and by this inspector resulted in the conclusion that the only permanent remedy was to have respondent's ...


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