County Addresses Flooding Along Hackensack River
County officials and representatives from United Water hold meeting Monday to discuss the increase in repetitive flooding in towns along the Hackensack River.
On the heels of New Milford Mayor Ann Subrizi's meeting with the DEP on Tuesday regarding repetitive flooding of homes and businesses along the Hackensack River that included officials from River Edge and Oradell, the county has arranged a meeting of the mayors and affected residents of flood prone towns, along with representatives from United Water, for Monday July 2 at 7 p.m. at One Bergen County Plaza in Hackensack.
The Hackensack River flows into the Lake DeForest reservoir before flowing downstream into the Lake Tappan reservoir. From here it flows south throughout the suburban communities of Oradell, where it forms the Oradell Reservoir, and continues to flow into several streams, such as the Pascack and Hirschfield Brooks, as it travels through New Milford, River Edge, Hackensack, Teaneck, Bogota and Ridgefield Park.
New Milford residents experienced unprecedented flooding in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene and have been vocal at mayor and council meetings about finding solutions.
According to Subrizi, potential solutions, such a lowering the reservoir in advance of a storm and dredging the Hackensack River, were not well received by the NJDEP. Subrizi reported that the NJDEP did not consider lowering the reservoirs a viable solution to prevent flooding.
"They consider water supply more important than flood mitigation and they don’t think a drinking water reservoir can be used in flood mitigation," Subrizi said.
Councilwoman Hedy Grant, also present at Tuesday's meeting, reported that the NJDEP said that they can only order United Water to lower the water if they think that the dam is endangered.
In his appearance before the New Milford Mayor and Council in November, Richard Henning, a spokesman for United Water, made it clear that water supply and flood mitigation are two completely different needs. United Water is in the business of supplying water to almost 800,000 customers in Bergen and Hudson Counties on a daily basis and must always guard against droughts.
During that meeting, Henning held that United Water maintains that as a steward of water supply they are required by the DEP to provide an adequate supply of water to its customers at all times.
"If you release water you won't get it back," Henning said, and United Water is required by the DEP to maintain a safe yield based on supply demands from their customers. According to Henning, the Hackensack River system has a safe yield of 66 million gallons.
Monday's meeting with Bergen County officials and representatives from United Water is expected to give mayors and residents a chance to talk about flooding issues and the affect of repetitive flooding on their towns.
New Milford's SOD (Stop Over Development) will be at the county meeting.
Bergen County meeting on flooding along the Hackensack River is being held Monday, July 2 at 7 p.m. at One Bergen County Plaza in Hackensack.
Let Patch save you time. Get local stories like this delivered right to your inbox or smartphone everyday with our free newsletter. It’s simple and fast: sign-up here.