Important Case Decided Against City
The East Jersey Water Company has at last won definitely and finally the fight against the payment for the proposed million-dollar intercepting sewer that Jersey City feels is needed in the Rockaway River Valley to safeguard Jersey City’s water supply against pollution. The sewer, if it is built, will have to be paid for by the people of Jersey City, N. J., says a writer in the Jersey City Journal. The action of Vice-Chancellor Stevens in dismissing the application of Jersey City to reopen the decree made in 1910 by which the Jersey City Water Supply Company was permitted to substitute a chlorination plant in the Rockaway watershed for the intercepting sewer plan has just been affirmed by the Court of Errors and Appeals. When Jersey City acquired the Boonton water work in the Rockaway River Valley from the Jersey City Water Supply Company, which in reality was the East Jersey Water Company, it was stipulated that the water company in return for the $7,000,000 paid that company for that plant must provide adequate safeguards against pollution. The Board of Chancery ruled that hypochloridc treatment would provide such safeguard and the system was installed. Later the city became convinced the chlorination plant was no longer adequate and decided that an intercepting sewer must be built, but when it came to deciding who was to foot the bill the East Jersey water interests fell back on that decision rendered years ago by the Chancery Court to the effect that the chemical treatment of the water is as effective as an intercepting sewer would be. Corporation Counsel Milton told the city authorities that the FJast Jersey could not be forced to pay for that sewer. This view was disputed and the City Commission engaged former Congressman Marshall Van Winkle to give a special opinion on thematter. Mr. Van Winkle finally decided that Mr. Milton was right and that the city would have to pay for the sewer. Still there were differences of opinion. In order to leave no opportunity for the charge that the city government was favoring the East Jersey, the City Commission decided to engage counsel to fight in the Court of Chancery for the reversal of the old Chancery Court decision that relieved the East Jersey of the duty of putting in an intercepting sewer. Thus far about $40,000 have been spent in counsel fees and expert fees in connection with this fight. The plans for the building; of the intercepting sewer are being held in abeyance in the City Hall in order to await the outcome of new litigation started by the East Jersey to prevent the building of the sewer, the company now claiming that the emptying of the effluent from that sewer into the Rockaway River below Boonton would damage the Passaic River water supply upon which the East Jersey depends. The Rockaway River empties into the Passaic River above the Little Falls pumping station of the East Jersey.