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DEP Decides Not to Demolish 2 Old Dams

Decision comes years after officials said the dams have a 'localized impact during rainfall events.'

State environmental officials have decided against destroying two dams on the Ramapo and Pequannock rivers after they determined the $1.25 million project would not have much of an impact during a major flood event, NorthJersey.com reported.

The decision comes two years after officials said removing the dams would alleviate flooding in parts of Wayne, Pequannock, and Pompton Lakes. The dams are located just off of Route 23 where the Pequannock and Ramapo Rivers form the Pompton River.

Removing the dams was one of 15 recommendations the Passaic River Basin Flood Advisory Commission made to state officials as a solution to fix the ongoing flooding problem in the Passaic River Basin.

“These small dams do have a localized impact during rainfall events. Removing these structures will benefit the area,” said David Rosenblatt, an engineering and construction administrator with the DEP said in February 2011 when the commission released its comprehensive plan to minimize flooding in the basin. The plan was issued in February 2011. “It means there will be some help in deterring flooding events from happening.”

Governor Christie created in the commission in 2010 after flooding cause more than $30 million worth of damage to homes in the basin.

— Have a question or news tip? Contact editor Daniel Hubbard at Daniel.Hubbard@patch.com or find us on Facebook and Twitter. For news straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Flood Plain January 09, 2013 at 11:04 PM
Since the experts indicated that destroying these structures would HELP alleviate flooding, why would the government, NOW, NOT follow the recommendations? What village is missing its idiot who made this latest current decision?
Fritz P. January 10, 2013 at 09:57 AM
I read in another article that these two structures become under water in a ten year rainfall event anyway, so there is no real benefit to be gained.
Ross Kushner January 11, 2013 at 05:15 PM
Our contention was that removing the dams would restore the rivers to a more natural state, remove a serious hazard, and do far more to reduce flooding than the destructive removal of fallen trees and gravel bars which the state has already funded. There were concerns voiced as to how this would affect flood-prone areas downstream. The study by the state was supposed to address that. Instead the study looked only at impacts upstream. It does show some flood reduction, and significant environmental gains. However, they managed to completely overlooked the numerous drownings the dams have caused, and were silent on the critical downstream effects. Without a look at downstream impacts, when the dams deteriorate to the point where they need to be replaced or removed, the review will have to be done again. Unfortunately, state studies like this one are often ignored or wrong. Their study of the flood gate operation on the dam at Pompton Lake showed “Lowering the Pompton Lake Reservoir prior to flooding events will not have any significant reduction in downstream flooding.” Yet, prior to Hurricane Sandy they drew down Pompton Lake anyway. Clearly it was either done for show, or because they recognized their study was inaccurate. Regardless, this only serves to weaken confidence in state flooding determinations. PRC will continue to be a voice of reason on this issue. Thanks, Ross Kushner, Executive Director Pequannock River Coalition

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