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Mayors Will View Floodgate Report Next Week

Report to outline the operation of the floodgates on the Pompton River dam.

A report on the operation of the floodgates on the Pompton River dam, will be presented to area mayors next week, Mayor Chris Vergano said at a council meeting Wednesday.

The mayors of Little Falls, Pequannock, Fairfield, and other towns in the Passaic River Flood Basin will examine the report, said Larry Ragonese, a spokesman with the state’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

“The DEP has been reviewing the report for a few weeks now and it will be made public soon,” Ragonese said. “We just want to give the mayors the courtesy of reviewing it first.”

AECOM, an international, technical and management support services firm based in California, is also reviewing the report.

Governor Chris Christie after touring flood-ravaged areas in the basin in March of last year. Christie appropriated $120,000 to fund the study. The computer-controlled gates are managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Residents from Wayne and surrounding municipalities who live below the dam say the gates have made flooding worse since they became operational in 2007.

Town planner John Szabo has said that the gates are for the increased flooding downstream.

“The truth of the matter is: the volume of water is the volume of water,” Szabo said. “These are low-lying areas with a history of flooding, that’s not going to change. There’s been no scientific, hydrological evidence, or study that shows the gates have contributed one ounce to the problem.”

Szabo is also the mayor of Oakland, which is located above the dam.

Army Corps officials said the amount and severity of flooding downstream would be the same even if the gates were not there.

“With the gates open, you get the same level of flooding downstream,” Col. John Boule II previously said.

Vergano and several local, state, and federal officials will gather  to explore the impact of flooding in the basin and what the possible solutions are for alleviating flooding in the future.

The conference will be held at William Paterson University on Wednesday, May 2.

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