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Sanitary Sewer System

Matawan’s sanitary waste system consists of approximately 30 miles of pipeand 10 small lift stations.  The topography of the land allows most of the system to operate efficiently with gravity to maintain an ample flow rate.  Where a significant change in elevation requires pumping the a lift stations injects the flow to a point in where it can once again continue flowing to the Bayshore Regional Sewerage Authority’s pumping station, where the effluent  leaves town for treatment at Bayshore’s facility in Union Beach.

Why Do Sewers Overflow?

Sanitary Sewer Overflows (SSOs) occasionally occur in almost every sewer system, even though systems are intended to collect and contain all the sewage that flows into them. When SSOs happen frequently, it means something is wrong with the system.Problems that can cause chronic SSOs include: 

  • Infiltration and Inflow (I&I): too much rainfall or snow melt infiltrating through the ground into leaky sanitary sewers not designed to hold rainfall or to drain property, and excess water inflowing through roof drains connected to sewers, broken pipes, badly connected sewer service lines
  • Undersized Systems: Sewers and pumps are too small to carry sewage from newly-developed subdivisions or commercial areas 
  • Pipe Failures: blocked, broken or cracked pipes; tree roots grow into the sewer; sections of pipe settle or shift so that pipe joints no longer match; and sediment and other material builds up causing pipes to break or collapse• Equipment Failures: pump failures, power failures 
  • Sewer Service Connections: discharges occur at sewer service connections to houses and other buildings; some cities estimate that as much as 60% of overflows comes from the service lines
  • Deteriorating Sewer System: improper installation, improper maintenance; widespread problems can be expensive to fix develop over time, some municipalities have found severe problems necessitating billion-dollar correction programs, often communities have to curtail new development until problems are corrected or system capacity is increased.

What Health Risks do SSOs Present?

Because SSOs contain raw sewage they can carry bacteria, viruses, protozoa (parasitic organisms), helminths (intestinal worms), and borroughs (inhaled molds and fungi). The diseases they may cause range in severity from mild gastroenteritis (causing stomach cramps and diarrhea) to life-threatening ailments such as cholera, dysentery, infections hepatitis, and severe gastroenteritis.

People can be exposed through:

  • Sewage in drinking water sources.
  • Direct contact in areas of high public access such as basements, lawns or streets, or waters used for recreation. At least one study has estimated a direct relationship between gastrointestinal illness contracted while swimming and bacteria levels in the water.
  • Shellfish harvested from areas contaminated by raw sewage. One study indicates that an average of nearly 700 cases of illness per year were reported in the 1980s from eating shellfish contaminated by sewage and other sources. The number of unreported cases is estimated to be 20 times that.
  • Some cases of disease contracted through inhalation and skin absorption have also been documented. 

Fats, Oils and Grease (FOG)

No Grease Down the Drain

Grease-clogged sewer pipe

 grease can  completely block sewer pipes

Grease is a byproduct of cooking. It comes from meat, lard, oil, shortening, butter, margarine, food scraps, baking goods, sauces and dairy products.

When grease washes down the sink, it sticks to the insides of the pipes that connect your home or business to the city's sewer. It also coats the insides of the city's sewer pipes.

Eventually, the grease can build up until it completely blocks sewer pipes. That can create difficult and expensive maintenance problems for both the city and private property owners.

Blocked sewer pipes can cause raw sewage to back up into your home or business, or overflow into streets and streams.

Garbage disposals don't keep grease out of sewer pipes. Products that claim to dissolve grease may dislodge a blockage, but will only cause problems farther on down the line when the grease hardens again.

Sewer Back Ups

In the event your home or business experiences a sanitary sewer back up, you may get in touch with the Matawan Department of Public Works Monday through Friday 7:00 A.M. - 3:00 P.M. by dialing the following phone numbers:

Matawan Department of Public Works


After Hours Matawan Police:

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Matawan, New Jersey 07747
Phone: 732-566-3898     Fax: 732-290-7585