The public sewer system is made up of four basic units:
- The Sewer Main
- The Wastewater Treatment Plant (or EDU)
- The Sewer Lateral (connecting the house plumbing to the sewer main)
- The Lateral Inspection Fee
The cost to connect to the system varies depending on which facility will treat the wastewater, the cost to construct the sewer main for a given area (called a sewer district), and the specifics of your lateral construction.
Sewer Main – The sewer main is the piping – usually buried in, or on the edge of a road – that collects wastewater from individual homes and conveys it to the wastewater treatment plant. Many things affect the total cost of a sewer main project, including engineering, design, depth of the pipe, rock, blasting, road repairs, driveway and lawn repairs, permits, the need for pump stations and/or grinder pumps, etc.
Franconia Township and the Franconia Sewer Authority (FSA) use a benefit assessment equation to calculate individual property costs. Similar to the wastewater treatment plant cost breakdown, the total project cost is divided by the number of properties that will potentially benefit from the sewer main installation. For example, if there are 200 existing homes and 20 vacant lots which, according to zoning, could contain 50 homes in the future, then each home that connects to the sewer main (in this sewer district) would have to pay for 1/250th of the sewer main cost.
Wastewater Treatment Plant – If a treatment plant is designed to treat wastewater from 1,000 homes (EDU), then each home that connects to the treatment plant would have to pay for 1/1000th of the treatment plant cost. Because of the high cost of building a wastewater treatment plant, they are constructed or expanded only after a long planning process. Treatment plants are usually constructed based on need projected 10 years in the future. They are permitted to have a certain flow capacity in gallons per day, which is often calculated into equivalent dwelling units or EDU.
Lateral – when a new sewer district is designated, each homeowner must connect their indoor plumbing to the new sewer main. These costs vary based on the length of pipe to get from the house to the main, obstacles such as trees and/or driveways, and whether or not the existing On-Lot Disposal Systems (OLDS) is in the front, side, or back of the house.
To cut costs, some homeowners opt to change plumbing inside their house rather than run a lateral from the back of the house to the main in front.
Inspection Fee – To assure that the connection between the house and the sewer main is installed correctly, and thereby reduce the chance of sewer problems, the township engineer will inspect the lateral. The cost of the inspection for existing residences, $200, is included in the EDU cost.
How Cost is Determined – The treatment plant or EDU cost varies depending on the treatment plant that takes the wastewater. This ranges currently from about $4,300 to $7,700. Recent sewer main installations have ranged between $12,000 and $25,000.
The sewer lateral cost depends on the length of pipe that needs to be run as well as any obstacles that may have to be addressed, but ranges from about $8,000 to $15,000.
Recent public sewer installations (sewer main and EDU) have ranged from about $15,000 to $18,500 – plus the cost of the lateral. This is not necessarily what the homeowners have paid.