Westwood may need to borrow $95,000 to pay for work at Westvale Park being required by the state to address unusual levels of methane.
The park is a former landfill and engineers have been closely monitoring the levels of methane being vented there. Borough engineer Stephen Boswell previously said that levels of methane were a little high — but far from dangerous — in some areas of the park and some areas were a little low because items had been shoved in the vents. Part of the problem may have been caused by an error when the vents were installed because vents may go too deep, below the water table, and need to be replaced, he said.
One vent was also damaged by the Bergen County Mosquito Commission while they were working in the Pascack Brook, Boswell said.
The Department of Environmental Protection is also making the borough install a new vent near the park's snack stand.
"The DEP wants this done as soon as possible," Boswell said.
Officials are preparing to undergo a project to drill a well for the new vent, repair the damaged vent, use sensors to check the water level and install a new vent system if needed. The Westwood Council introduced an ordinance this week which would appropriate $100,000 for the project, including $95,000 that would need to be borrowed. The motion narrowly passed 4-3 with a tie-breaking vote from Mayor John Birkner.
"These are mandated by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection," Birkner said.
Council members who voted against introducing the ordinance said they wanted to wait until the water level tests were finished and see if the cost could be put off to next year's budget instead of borrowing now.
Officials may be able to recover some of the money spent on the initial installation of the vents if it does turn out that there was an error, but they're running out of time. The work was done about 10 years ago and government agencies have a rule for situations like this, similar to a statute of limitations, which lasts only 10 years, according to borough attorney Russell Huntington.