Reusing resources

Cistern at Town Hall captures rainwater

Below North Bergen Town Hall is a plastic cistern that collects two inches of rainwater per rainfall. The gutters collect the rainwater, and drop it into the 500-gallon cistern. The rainwater can be released from a pump that will be reused to water the grass and plants at Town Hall. The initiative was a $10,000 grant award through PSE&G called NJ Sustainable, and the town contributed $5,500, according to Recycling Program Aide Tom Stampe.
Stampe is also on the Green Team, which is a group of various members from different town departments working together to make North Bergen more sustainable.

Town Hall is the first building with the rainwater initiative.
Town Hall is the first building with the rainwater initiative.
“Every time it rains, there should be no discharge of water from Town Hall,” Stampe said in an interview. Mayor Nicholas Sacco, Stampe, and students from the Environmental Club held a ribbon cutting on Wednesday, Oct. 12 to officially welcome the system, and to inform students about what it does.

Why waste free water?

Before the cistern, rain water diverted into the township’s overburdened sewer system, according to Stampe.
“Both sanitary and rainwater gets combined into one sewer system, and it overflows on a heavy raining day, so we’re looking for alternatives to that,” Stampe said.
Currently everything in the sewer system goes into a sewer treatment plant, except those on River Road, which go into the Hudson River. “It’s taxing on our sewer system,” Stampe said.
“We’re trying to encourage all new builders to look into green infrastructures like this when they build in town. That’s going to be part of the Planning Board’s purpose: to include this in their plans in about one year.”
At the ribbon cutting, Mayor Sacco explained to the children exactly what the system does, why it’s in use, and what it saves.
“They learned a lot and were enthusiastic. The kids knew what was going on after he explained it, and they were eager to work on a project related to this,” Stampe said. “It’s opening eyes to problems that are going on, it’s fantastic.”
He added, “The kids turned the water on, and it was nice experience especially in an urban town. It’s kind of like a farm area at Town Hall, now. We’re looking at other areas in town this can be used on, like the recreation center, other municipal buildings in town, and where new work is being done.”

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