As the population and industrial development of Bergen County proceeded in the early decades of the 20th century, the Hackensack River and its tributaries became increasingly polluted. The effects of this pollution were intensified in the tidal areas since the tidal action tended to confine the pollutants in the lower part of the river.
In order to relieve the pollution in Overpeck Creek, a main tributary of the Hackensack River, the Bergen County Sewage Authority (now Bergen County Utilities Authority) undertook the construction of a trunk sewer, intercepting sewers, and a sewage treatment plant. The plant provided secondary treatment and had a design capacity of 20 mgd to serve twelve municipalities and various industries located in the Overpeck Valley. The initial pollution control project was placed in service in 1951.
Other communities have joined whether separately or in groups since that time. Stage 2, serving sixteen municipalities, was completed in 1964, at which time the plant capacity was increased to 50 mgd.
As a result of continued growth and the increasing number of participants, the treatment plant’s flow rapidly approached the design capacity of 50 mgd. Accordingly, the BCUA authorized the preparation of a report which examined the feasibility of expanding the treatment plant. This expansion took place in two phases. The first phase, Contract 86, expanded the plant capacity to 62.5 mgd and was completed in 1977. The second phase, Contract 87, expanded the plant capacity another 12.5 mgd, bringing the capacity to 75 mgd. Later Contract 109 brought the plant to its present peak month design capacity of 109 mgd. Today, the Water Pollution Control system serves a population of about 536,000 in 46 municipalities.
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