This is what Public Service Electric & Gas
Calls a Job Well Done

1/28 Update 2: All fixed! We just heard from Summit-area Sr. Supervisor Ed. Bittner to the effect that our hole had been filled yesterday afternoon with topsoil, other lawn holes were filled as well, and a temporary patch was applied to the sinkhole in the street! Although it's snowing heavily, I went out to look and, under the snow, found a really nice mound of black, moist topsoil and, in the street, found an asphalt patch.  He told us that full restoration of streets, lawns, sidewalks, etc. is (and was all along, despite what I was told a week and a half ago) scheduled for March.

1/28 Update: On the evening of January 27th, after phoning and asking for the COO again, we received a call from Supervisor Mike McNulty, who promised to take care of both problems over the next couple of days.  He also said he will analyze the way the entire project was carried out with an eye to improve the process for future projects.

During December, 2009 and January, 2010, PSE&G, using Federal stimulus funds, replaced the old, low-pressure, cast iron gas mains in the Sherman Park neighborhood of Morristown, New Jersey with high-pressure, plastic gas mains.  To do this, they dug-up the street, threaded the plastic pipe through the old cast iron pipe, replaced the incoming pipe and meter in our cellar and dug-up our lawn to install a gas shut-off valve (so they can freeze us out if we forget to pay the gas bill) and to attach the new main to our gas line.

In so doing, they lost a large volume of topsoil and left us with sandy soil incapable of supporting weeds, let alone grass, and a sink hole over a foot deep.  Then, two days ago on January 25th, a hole in the middle of the street which had been improperly filled and topped with temporary asphalt also collapsed, leaving an axle-breaking sink hole in the street as well.

Here's the sink hole that PSE&G left in our lawn.  Subsequently, we were informed that the job was finished and that our only recourse was a monetary claim.  We just want PSE&G to finish the job by restoring the foot of topsoil, not Great Swamp sand, and reseeding.



Here's the sink hole which appeared on January 25, 2010, at least a week after PSE&G filled the hole they'd dug in support of the project.

 

Yesterday, I called the COO of PSE&G and was diverted to customer service (never a good sign).  I told them that I didn't want to have to lift a finger to get my area of lawn restored.  I didn't want to go through the hassle of calling gardeners, getting estimates, and so on, so that I could file a claim with PSE&G, which might well not be paid, and have to deal with getting the job done.  When I'd called several days earlier, I'd been told by local PSE&G personnel that the job was finished, there would be no further restoration of disturbed property, and that a monetary claim which might not be paid was my only recourse.

This morning, while I was working on a project upstairs, the doorbell rang.  I met PSE&G's Robert Cholowski at the door; apparently he'd been sent as a result of yesterday's phone call to the executive offices.  After complaining that I was holding a large screwdriver (one that I'd been using upstairs when interrupted; apparently, he thought I might hit him with it!), he told me that PSE&G is prepared to fill-in our lawn with plain dirt (not topsoil, as was there before) and that someday, perhaps, it would be seeded.  I told him that if PSE&G refuses to restore my lawn with topsoil and seed, they had better do nothing and I would pursue my many other options.  After we'd both repeated ourselves about six times, he reluctantly left.  I am still awaiting a promised telephone call from a PSE&G executive to discuss the matter.