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November 29, 2001

Texas Rd. residents threaten lawsuit over lack of water

By Sue M. Morgan
Staff Writer

OLD BRIDGE — Still demanding a temporary water supply until municipal water lines are connected to their homes, Texas Road residents Cynthia Rodriguez-Salvesen and Pauline Moran have retained an attorney to represent them in a possible lawsuit against the township.

Appearing at Monday’s Township Council meeting, attorney Stuart Lieberman of Princeton reported that his clients have been without potable water for three months due to the drying of their private wells. Rodriguez-Salvesen and Moran are among 11 Texas Road residents who have private wells and who are scheduled to be hooked into municipal lines.

Lieberman also stated that the drying of the residents’ wells coincided with the construction of the Woodhaven development behind the homes. He said it was rerouting of the streams to the development’s detention pond that caused the wells to dry.

However, a report previously issued by the township’s Engineering Department found that the wells dried up because of their shallow depth, not because the streams were rerouted.

Lieberman asked the council to take emergency measures to provide the homes with potable water, noting that current conditions make the homes inhabitable.

"We don’t really want to file a suit, but we might have no recourse," said Lieberman.

"We need something done here," he added. "What is more important than 11 people in your township who can’t drink water?"

Council President Dennis Maher advised Lieberman that the Texas Road water situation had been discussed at previous meetings. He suggested that Lieberman contact Mayor Barbara Cannon, Business Administrator Alayne Shepler and Township Engineer Nelson Iglesias to find out what progress had been made in resolving the situation.

"We’ve looked at this," Maher said. "Our hands are tied."

Township Attorney William Ruggierio also advised Lieberman to contact the administration.

"You’re coming in the middle of the story. Get up to speed on what we know and then you can make your decision," Ruggierio told him.

At present, the 11 homes are scheduled to be hooked into the municipal water system within eight to nine weeks, according to a report previously given by Shepler. Following testing and approval by the Old Bridge Municipal Utilities Authority, the residents will be able to hook into the water lines.

Shepler has also advised Rodriguez-Salveson and her neighbors that if they are interested, they could apply for low-interest loans of $3,000 to obtain a temporary water supply.

Lieberman told the council that he would check with the township’s administration before pursuing litigation.