The floodgates on the Pompton River are now open. The river is expected to go down 3 feet in the next seven hours.
Vergano, state Assemblyman Scott Rumana and other local officials asked Bob Martin, the state Department of Public Works commissioner, to urge the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to open the gates early so towns downstream from the river, like Wayne, Pequannock and Pompton Plains, would not be as severely flooded as they would be if the gates were to open at a later time.
"We had asked them to lower the level at the dam prior to the big storm coming," Vergano said. "I am happy that DEP Commissioner Martin recommended to Governor Christie and the governor approved lowering the level of water prior to Hurricane Irene arriving."
Vergano said the level of the river will decrease by 3 feet in the next seven hours, creating a larger basin to accept the water that Irene is expected to drop on North Jersey.
"I am gratified to know that our concerns are being heard," Rumana said in a statement.
Rumana also said that Martin will issue an administrative order to allow debris to be removed from waterways and reservoirs "under these emergency conditions."