History of the Sewer Construction

Mountain Lakes from its earliest days depended on septic tanks and cesspools for its sewage disposal. The large lots were good for this purpose, however, as the Borough developed and more houses were built, this became a problem. Would polluted effluent drain into the lakes?

Starting in the 1960s, resident study committees were formed, each concentrating on the problem of drainage into the lakes. The third committee was appointed in 1972. It strongly recommended that the Borough install sewers in homes that bordered the lakes.  Sewers would have been ideal everywhere but cost was a significant issue.  Luckily, in 1975 with the passage of the Clean Water Act, the federal government offered sewering funds to communities that were ready to apply.  This grant allowed the Borough to sewer the entire community for the cost of the original partial project.

In 1977 a two-year construction project began to sewer all houses built before the 1975. The construction firm chosen was Lisbon Contractors.  As they began work, a volunteer group of six to eight citizens met every Friday evening from 6:05 p.m. (when the train got in) to 7:50 p.m. They walked the lines that had just been laid as well as the areas designated for next week’s work. Their observations were welcomed by the contractors and most were adopted. Lisbon’s engineer-in-charge said they did their best work — probably since they knew someone was watching them — and also because they got praise wherever it was warranted.

The final construction cost of this project was the contract price of $6,294,569.50 — making history, as there was not one penny of cost overrun. After grants from both the federal Clean Water Act and from the State of New Jersey, and with interest earned on bond sale proceeds, the final cost to taxpayers was $4.2 million dollars.

This is an example whereby a small group of committed and cooperative volunteers worked together to improve the outcome for the Borough.

The utilities in or serving Mountain Lakes include:

Electricity Jersey Central Power and Light Co
Natural Gas New Jersey Natural Gas Company
Telephone / Internet/ TV(landline) Verizon, Cablevision
Potable water Mountain Lakes Water Utility
Sanitary sewage collection Mountain Lakes Sewer Utility
Sanitary sewage treatment Parsippany-Troy Hills Sewer Utility
Solid wastes collection/disposal Borough of Mountain Lakes *
Recycling Borough of Mountain Lakes *
Storm drainage Borough of Mountain Lakes

*Municipal contract with private scavenger for residential and public building pick-up, individual private contracts for businesses.