The County Regional Wastewater Treatment System collects and treats the sewage discharged every day from the properties in Camden County. The Camden County Municipal Utilities Authority treats 58 million gallons of sewage per day at our main plant, Delaware No. 1 Water Pollution Control Facility. This flow travels through 135 miles of pipe assisted by 27 pump stations located throughout the County. At the plant, wastewater receives primary and secondary treatment through a biological process which removes 90-95% of the pollutants. Sludge is currently dried, thereby reducing the quantity by about 75%, and then transported out of state for final disposal.
The Federal Water Pollution Control Act of 1967 required each state to develop water quality standards to protect surface water and groundwater. The New Jersey Department of Health (now the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection) developed regulations that spelled out how wastewater had to be treated. New Jersey State legislation required all future sewerage systems to be developed regionally. In 1972, the Camden County Board of Chosen Freeholders created the Camden County Municipal Utilities Authority to meet these requirements. The CCMUA has the responsibility and the sole authority to plan for and treat wastewater within Camden County as required by the Federal Clean Water Act.
Locating the main treatment plant in Camden made sense because: Federal and state water quality regulations require advanced (also called “tertiary”) treatment of wastewater which will be discharged into small streams like the interior streams of the county – Big Timber Creek, Cooper River, Great Egg Harbor River, Mullica River, and Pennsauken Creek. Wastewater which will be discharged into large streams – like the Delaware River – needs only “secondary” treatment. Tertiary treatment is much more expensive to build and operate than secondary treatment. As a result, it was cheaper and better for the environment to locate the main plant to discharge into the Delaware River rather than into one of the small interior streams of Camden County. (Average flow in the Delaware River is 4 billion gallons (15 billion liters) per day. The Cooper River, perhaps the biggest interior stream, has a flow of 35 million gallons (132 million liters) per day. Our average daily discharge of 50 – 60 million gallons (190 – 227 million liters) per day is less than 2% of the total Delaware River flow passing our main plant!) Before the CCMUA was created, there were four plants in Camden County which discharged into the Delaware River. The Camden City plant had a capacity of 53 million gallons (200 million liters) per day. The second largest plant could only process 7 million gallons (26 million liters) per day. For these reasons, the CCMUA purchased and upgraded the original main Camden City plant.
Industrial Pretreatment Program (delegated to the CCMUA by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection) works with businesses in Camden County to determine if they are at risk of causing excess demand on the treatment facilities. Businesses found to be at risk are issued permits spelling out the limits on pollutants likely to be in their wastewater. The businesses must have their discharges tested at stated intervals and report on the test results. They are also subject to unannounced testing, performed by CCMUA staff members. Fines can be assessed if necessary to enforce compliance.
At the main plant, water from the Camden City system and the regional collection system enters a Junction Chamber where the two flows mix together. (There is also a smaller inflow from North Camden and Pennsauken Township.) The Preliminary Treatment Facility screens out large objects and lets sand and gravel settle out of the wastewater. In the Primary Sedimentation Tanks, more waste settles out of the water as “primary sludge.” At this point it has completed “primary treatment.” The water flows into the Aeration Tanks to be mixed with secondary sludge and a source of oxygen. In the Aeration Tanks, bacteria consume more pollutants. Next, in the Final Sedimentation Tanks, bacteria and pollutants are allowed to settle out as “secondary sludge.” About 30% of the secondary sludge is returned to the Aeration Tanks, and the rest is dewatered and further processed. The wastewater proceeds to the Chlorine Contact Tanks. Here it is mixed with a sodium hypochlorite solution – similar to household bleach – and discharged to the Delaware River.
At first, sludge is held in the Sludge Storage Tanks. At this stage, primary sludge is about 96% water and secondary sludge is about 99% water. In the Thickening and Dewatering Building, secondary sludge is processed in the Gravity Belt Thickeners to produce “thickened secondary sludge”. The thickened secondary sludge and the primary sludge continue to the Belt Filter Presses. When the sludge enters the Belt Presses, it looks like dirty water. After processing, the sludge is about 75% water and looks like mud. The sludge is then processed in one of three sludge dryers. The dried sludge is then either used as a fuel, replacing coal, in a cement kiln or beneficially reused as landfill cover. Filtrate (water removed from the sludge in the Gravity Belt Thickeners and the Belt Presses) is returned to the main system at the head of the plant.
Our bill covers the operation, maintenance and construction cost of over $850 million dollars in state of the art wastewater treatment facilities. This includes an 80 Million Gallon (303 Million Liter) per Day (mgd) Treatment Plant in Camden and 27 Pumping Stations along with 135 miles (215 kilometers) of pipeline interceptors. Every property connected to the sewer system in Camden County receives our service. 70% of the bill pays for debt service. This is the interest and principal payment on the funds which have been borrowed to construct the Wastewater Treatment Facilities. The remaining 30% pays the operation, maintenance, & administration cost of providing wastewater treatment to your property. The primary reason for the mandated regional sanitary sewage system was to protect human health.
Effective February 18, 2015, the CCMUA’s standard household user rate will be $ 88.00 per quarter, for a total of $352 per household per year.
Payments for regional sewer service should be mailed to: CAMDEN COUNTY MUA PO BOX 1105 Bellmawr, NJ 08099-5105 Make your check payable to: Camden County M.U.A.
The CCMUA can now accept payments deducted from your bank account. You can make these payments 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can pay either over the Internet or by phoning 1-800-966-7995. Costs to the CCMUA for processing online payments are significantly higher than the cost of processing checks. There is a $1.75 fee for this service. The fee is paid directly to the company which processes the payments. It has been decided that the extra cost of this service should not be charged to customers who do not use the service. In addition, if your bank offers online payment services, we can accept payments made through your bank or other financial institution. Contact your bank to set up this type of payment. Of course you will continue to have the option of paying by check through the mail, at a County Store, or at the CCMUA Administration Building. Cash payments can be accepted only at our Administration Building at 1645 Ferry Avenue, Camden.
The billing rate for businesses is determined by the schedule of rates. The schedule of rates assigns an adjusted number of EDUs (Equivalent Dwelling Units) based on the size and type of business. Please, look on the Billing & Customer Service Department for the schedule of rates.
Call our main phone number at 541-3700. Dial Extension #1444 for customer service Monday-Friday during regular business hours. For our website Click here.
The CCMUA is responsible for transporting your wastewater via pipeline (regional interceptor) from one location within your community to a modern wastewater treatment facility on the Delaware River. At this facility wastewater from all over Camden County receives the best treatment that modern technology can provide. Your municipality is responsible for the collection system within your town, which includes the pipes in the street in front of your house and various pump stations. This local collection system directs and conveys your town’s wastewater to our regional interceptor. Many towns have reduced their local rates substantially once they were no longer responsible for operating a treatment plant. The charges from your local municipality are for collecting wastewater from your home or business and delivering it to the CCMUA interceptor, and the charge from the CCMUA is for transporting wastewater to our treatment plant in the City of Camden and for treating it.
Send us an email at mail@ccmua.org a week before the sale date. Include: Your name. The 9 digit account number. The town & service address of the property. The date of the Sale. We will process the ownership change from the email. If you prefer, you can send us a letter with the same information. You can also contact us after the settlement date with this information.
Our Authority is under a court ordered service agreement which established a unit billing system. Your municipality signed this service agreement with our Authority, which complies with State laws and U.S.E.P.A. rules. 70% of your bill pays for the cost of the system’s construction. This is a fixed cost and does not change based on flow or usage. This cost has already been expended to service your property and connect to our system. This cost must be recovered, and it has no relationship to usage. Many municipalities bill waste water charges on a unit basis. Billing on flow would be more costly than the current unit billing. The increased cost would have to be passed onto our customers.
Debt service is the interest & principal the Authority pays, each year, on the money which has been borrowed to construct the waste water treatment system in Camden County. Besides Federal Grants which the Authority received for design and construction of the $850 million dollar system, all other funds were borrowed. Each year the Authority pays interest and principal on the amount outstanding. This is similar to a home mortgage. Since the system was constructed in two phases payments in early years were on half of the system’s cost. Now payments must be still made on the first half of the system cost and the second half. Imagine if your house was constructed in two phases with the first half finished in 1987 and the second half completed in 1991. Payments made at first would be on the half of the cost completed first. Then when the entire house was finished the monthly payments would increase to cover the entire cost of the house.
If you live in the vicinity of our South Camden Treatment Plant or in the vicinity of any of our facilities and smell a sewerage odor, please call the Authority’s odor hotline number at 856-541-3700, extension 2247. Please leave your name, the time and vicinity of the odor complaint and a return phone number.