An agreement is now in place to re-evaluate flood control projects in the Passaic River Basin.
The signing of the cost-sharing agreement between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) means that officials can begin comparing flood risk management alternatives for communities in the basin.
The study will re-evaluate a feasibility study for alleviating flooding in the basin the Corps completed in the late 1980s.
The re-evaluation is one of 15 recommendations the Passaic River Flood Advisory Commission stated could help minimize flooding in the basin. Governor Christie created the commission in 2011.
The re-evaluation will be completed in two phases.
Different combinations of potential alleviation alternatives including: levees, floodwalls, and the modification of flow channels, bridges, and dams, will be examined in the conceptual phase. Modifying the Beatties Dam and Two Bridges area will also be examined.
The approved alternatives will be examined in more detail in another phase.
The agreement means the state and federal government will each fund half of the $2.4 million conceptual phase portion of the re-evaluation.
“This agreement is an important milestone toward comprehensive, long-term flooding solutions for communities in the basin,” said Col. John Boule, commander of the Corps’ New York District. “We are committed to collaborating closely with the DEP, our great partner, to rapidly complete the planning that leads to a project that significantly reduces the flood risk to the public that we serve.”
Many flood victims blame the Corps for poorly operating the floodgates on the Pompton Lake dam. Although the Corps manages them, a computer controls when the gates open and close. When the water behind them reaches a certain level, the gates automatically open, causing water to rush out from behind the dam faster than it did before the gates became operational in 2007.
DEP Commissioner Bob Martin said the study and its proposed mitigation solutions would not completely alleviate flooding in the basin.
“We recognize there is no silver bullet to stop flooding in the basin and are making an aggressive effort to move people out of harm’s way through home buyouts and elevations in the most flood-prone areas,” Martin said in a statement.
Hundreds of homes in the basin are in the process of thanks to grant money from the state and federal governments.
The town received $18.5 million to in the Passaic and Pompton River floodways. The Federal Emergency Management Agency to buyout homes in the Hoffman Grove section of town.