If you’ve been on Upper Mountain Ave. recently and noticed the huge hole dug into the side of the hill just north of the Presby Iris Gardens, you may have asked yourself, “What’s that all about?” We did too, and we decided to find out.
Our first step, naturally, was to contact the township. Kimberli Clark, the township engineer, told us that the narrow tract of land where the work was being done is actually owned by the City of Newark’s Water and Sewer Utilities department, and Montclair has thus “not been actively involved in the project.”
It turns out that Newark owns that small piece of land because of the pipe that runs under it. The pipe carries water from Milford, via the Cedar Grove Reservoir, into Newark for its water supply.
The pipe is currently being fixed due to a leak, which is why all the construction work is taking place on Upper Mountain. John T. George, a supervising engineer for Newark’s water department (which is located in Little Falls), says the work should be done within a month.
“There is a fairly good distance of pipe under the mountain,” he explained. The Cedar Grove Reservoir, he added, had to be drained in order to inspect the pipe. The reservoir will be filled and returned to service in April 2012, according to a City of Newark press release. In the meantime, the city is getting its water from the Great Notch Reservoir.