The great sewer debate

| 17 Aug 2020 | 12:11

Editor’s note: The following comments were posted under last week’s story “The sewer war is on.” To read the other comments under this story or to post your own, visit

Sean Strub: Just to clarify, I am in principle an advocate of central sewage systems, for the health, sanitation, environmental, property appreciation and other economic advantages they typically bring to a community. But whether I can support it for Milford’s commercial district depends on the final plan that is feasible, from an engineering perspective, as well as financially. A huge variable that will affect the ongoing operational costs is how much of the installation cost can be covered by federal and state grants for sewage systems. The Delaware River Basin Commission has done an amazing job of protecting and improving the water quality of the Delaware. They are effective stewards and no system could be built without their approval. They are already aware that the sewage pumped from in-ground systems in the commercial district already goes into the river, mostly through a privately-owned treatment plant. Central sewage would redirect that sewage to the treatment at the publicly- owned treatment plant. The largest user of the system in the borough would probably be Belle Reve, which generates an enormous amount of sewage, all of which seeps into their leech field on the bluff right above the river, which ultimately bleeds into the river aquifers. Milford’s commercial district is fragile, that’s why we see businesses come and go so frequently. We’ve lost most of the rooms close to Milford (18 at Cliff Park, 15 at Tom Quick, 12 at Black Walnut, 30 at Mt. Haven, etc.), which has been very damaging to the commercial district. We are certain to lose more businesses from the pandemic--many are facing uncertain futures, including my own. Central sewage would incent investment in the borough and help prevent the commercial district from having more empty storefronts, less desirable retail, fewer restaurants and the inevitable crime and drug problems that follow. Central sewage could help protect Milford’s quality of life, in my opinion.

Kevin M. Holian: I hear what Mayor Strub is saying. My understanding of the Pike EDA is that we need “shovel ready commercial sites. Yes, the TQI needs to return to life for our County Seat. This is all so frustrating. This is all about Grant writing at federal, state, and non-profit levels.

It is also about Fundraising. Hey! We have festivals, we have 23k second homeowners who picked Milford. Think fixes versus nixes. We may WANT sewers, yet we NEED to think CONSERVATION.

Mike: I must be missing something here. Sean listed 18 at Cliff Park, 15 at Tom Quick, 12 at Black Walnut, 30 at Mt. Haven?

(3) of those are NOT even in the BORO so the sewer won’t help them at all and Tom Quick as far as I know has been open (hotel) and when I was chatting with manager while ago they are doing fine. I even asked are they experiencing any septic problems and was told no & they have one of the biggest septic systems around and it’s 100% fine and operational.

Sounds to me like few businesses want it while saying others also need it, when in fact they don’t.

Sean Strub: Mike, the point about those other hotels wasn’t that central sewage would benefit them, as they are out of the borough (and closed). The point was how many of the leisure travel rooms we have lost in and near Milford in recent years and how that is another factor that has hurt our tourism-based economy. The Tom Quick may be have tenants, but it hasn’t been opened in years. When they were open and fully operational there were frequently challenges with their septic system. Right now it is being used at only a portion of its capacity so it makes sense that they don’t have problems currently.

AMG: The rooms lost at those Inns were gone before the pandemic. The Delaware River just over the border in New Jersey is partially closed to swimming due to high levels of water bacteria right now. How is the argument for central sewer helpful, when the problems discussed by those against the sewer idea, is occurring right now?? I work in the city, and live here for 15 years. Not long, but I’m here because you have one street light, and the place is charming, with nice people. There are more friends in the city, who know more about attractions and the Lake area and visit, hike, bike etc. than know about Milford. Let’s try to market the area more, and invite those who can do this best, to help increase tourism. I didn’t move here to watch it become a medium sized town, and then slowly die, as people come to the country for things and experiences that are slowly disappearing in the USA!! I can’t get good cider donuts in New York, but I used to drive here for it.

Mr. Splendora: Our hearts go out to the owners of the Milford Diner, who have to pump their sewage out of a tank every month, and to Mayor Sean Strub, who is in distress that some commercial properties are underutilized -- hotel rooms empty, dual-use zoning areas not developed, golf links uncrowded, and a potentially profitable opportunity stretching from Milford to Westfall that is not being exploited. But why should everyone else in the community want more development, more people in the stores, more cars on our roads, more traffic lights between where we are and where we are trying to get to, more noise, more light pollution, more time wasted in dealing with increased traffic and commerce, more danger trying to cross streets that are already overloaded with vehicles? So that the already wealthy can have more money? What about the desires of people who are trying to live sane lives in a sane environment, the reason most of us are here in the first place?

Is is necessary to remind that no t every place on the planet has to look like the nightmare that is the dystopian “miracle mile,” with its ghost mall and other failed businesses, in Middletown. Where’s the sanity in creating more of that? Who needs it? If we have a choice, let’s just say no. There’s nothing wrong with peace.