Hackensack Sewer Separation and Main Street Conversion

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NJ I-Bank Project of the Week: Hackensack City receives $7.7 million from the I-Bank saving ratepayers approximately $5,106,415.

Hackensack City recently completed two projects, one addressing clean water infrastructure and the other addressing transportation infrastructure. Both projects are being financed with approximately $7.7 million in loans from two NJ Infrastructure Bank financing programs: the Water Bank, a low-rate funding program jointly administered by the NJDEP for water quality projects, and the Transportation Bank, a low-rate funding program jointly administered by the NJDOT for transportation projects. Hackensack received $1,000,000 in principal forgiveness from the Water Bank for combined sewer overflow (“CSO”) separation work. Including interest cost savings, total savings for the Water Bank component is estimated to be $4,766,354 over the 35-year term of the loan or 84% of the total project cost. The city also completed streetscape improvements that were completed in 2020 and received long-term Transportation Bank financing in 2023. Total savings for the Transportation Bank component are estimated to be $340,061 over the 14-year term of the loan or 17% of the total project costs. The combination of both projects created an estimated 91 direct, one-year construction jobs.

Hackensack’s Water Bank project involved separating a CSO system. A combined sewer system (“CSS”) collects rainwater runoff, domestic sewage, and industrial wastewater into one pipe. During wet weather, CSSs tend to overflow due to the increased volume from rainwater, releasing the polluted effluent into waterways. Separating the sewer allows stormwater to be deposited directly to a nearby water body instead of being transferred unnecessarily to a sewage treatment plant. This helps prevent untreated sewage from overflowing the treatment system and spilling into the waterways as well as abating flooding frequency in the city. In addition to reducing overflow incidence, this project enabled the city to comply with the State’s Discharge permit requirements. The Hackensack CSO project provides significant water quality and health benefits for the community. 

The CSO project emerged from the design of a streetscape project which was initiated to address a local commerce issue. Hackensack City officials had been advised by city planners that a one-way traffic main street was negatively impacting local businesses, which, as Mayor, John P. Labrosse observed, “was readily evident: one way out of town.” City planners began the streetscape project converting Hackensack’s Main Street from a one-way street to two-way. The project designers capitalized on the streetscape construction to address water quality issues beneath the streets.

As Mayor Labrosse commented, “Typically, the environment takes a back seat to business and commerce, but the City Council prioritized the clean water benefits while revitalizing the retail shopping corridor in the downtown area. By separating the combined sewer system, they saved the city money on water treatment and the environment from CSO overflows. This project will improve the quality of life for our residents while also providing a benefit to Main Street businesses, all financed with low-interest loans provided by the NJ Infrastructure Bank.”

Both components of the project were designed by Suburban Consulting Engineers, Inc. Cifelli & Son General Contracting, Inc. constructed the Main Street conversion. New Prince Concrete Construction Company constructed the sewer separation.