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Christie Tours Flooded Areas, Talks About Independent Study of Floodgates

Governor ordered study of floodgates on Pompton River dam, said he will be "transparent" with the results.

Governor Chris Christie said he has never seen flooding like what he saw Tuesday while touring flooded areas of Wayne and Fairfield.

Christie traveled to the worst-affected areas of Wayne and saw firsthand the devastation that Hurricane Irene left in its wake this past weekend.

The governor noted that he saw, in an area of Wayne that does not normally flood, “incredible despair” from a woman who just moved into her home in December.

“I’ve never seen flooding like that before,” Christie said of the water levels in Fairfield at the Passaic County Public Safety Academy Tuesday. “We can’t pretend to know what these people are going through.”

The Passaic River crested this afternoon at nearly 14.2 feet, more than double flood stage level, according to the National Weather Service. The Passaic was the final waterway of the area’s 11 that flooded to crest.

Christie said inland flooding would be a significant problem in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene. 

Christie's decision to on the Pompton River for nine hours Friday helped drain 3 feet of water from behind the Pompton River Dam. It was the first time that occurred.

“Many of the residents connect these to the existence of the dam,” Christie said. “There are many residents who I spoke to who said that opening those gates was a great help. I don’t know if it was a great help or not. It didn’t look like it to me, but maybe it could have been a lot worse. My view was, there were so many residents who thought that the dam was a problem that I thought opening the floodgates and lowering the level was the right thing to do. No one could point to me that it would make matters worse.”

Christie commissioned a study last spring, independent of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which controls the computer system that operates the gates, to conclusively determine whether or not the current operation of the dam is contributing to or worsening flooding in communities downstream.

The study will be complete Feb. 1.

“We will be completely transparent with the results of that study,” Chrisite said. “We’re going to make a determination of what we need to do differently.” 

Christie sent a letter to President Obama requesting an expedited declaration of a major disaster for the entire state of New Jersey. The declaration would authorize the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to coordinate all disaster relief efforts. The federal government will provide financial assistance to fund area relief.

Wayne previously  $24 million to help purchase houses in flood-prone portions of the township, mainly the Hoffman-Grove section of town.

The Passaic River Flood Advisory Committee released a to minimize flooding along the Passaic River Basin in February. 

But none of thsoe efforts offered much comfort to the homeowners facing the current round of flooding, from Hurricane Irene.

georgeg August 31, 2011 at 01:21 AM
Another study......haven't we heard that before???......
ElleMichelle August 31, 2011 at 02:59 AM
"Wayne previously received $24 million to help purchase houses in flood-prone portions of the township, mainly the Hoffman-Grove section of town" In this section of town, there is in no way, shape or form that $24 million was spent in buy-outs....where is this money to help the rest??
Elizabeth August 31, 2011 at 11:25 AM
Quit wasting damn time with all these studies and DO SOMETHING! I have 6 feet of water in my home and all you can do is studies??? How about dredging the river and putting retainer tanks for all the water. Studies, studies, studies, all an excuse to ignore the Wayne resident who flood.
david kotler August 31, 2011 at 01:53 PM
cut the studies and do something-talk is cheap! Dave
ElleMichelle August 31, 2011 at 02:44 PM
They should have been concerned with studies back in 84 when the area was devastated... 'conducting studies' is their fancy way of saying "we don't care!"
Wayne Voter August 31, 2011 at 04:02 PM
How many studies do we need? Pay attention Wayne voters. The leadership in this town and those we've moved further up the line in governement have failed us. November is coming. Vote them all out. That's all they respond to. The strings attached to this current FEMA bailout is that houses must be purchased and the land left empty so the flood waters have somewhere to go. I just hope that is what happens. But we all know that is still not enough.
Rania Baladi October 21, 2011 at 06:41 PM
I agree with everyone's comment. To add...they build so much in the Garden State (even in swamp areas) without updating or placing new sewage system. Also, we are in partnership with Port Authority and NJ Transit (they don't want to lose that income). We studied the solution years ago and our Government failed us then, but why can't we implement the approved plans from then? You will hear the excuse that we need funding. Well STOP sending OUR money all over the world to AMERICAN HATERS and save the AMERICAN LOVERS...They have destroyed our lives with this flood issue, with stress, decisions on whether we stay or leave our homes, paper work for FEMA, construction we are paying out of pocket or loans until we settle claims. No hope as to solution...Why build new dams? Who controls them? We are up against Enviromentalists, DEP, Water People, the Areas with bigger power, etc. We have sent men to the moon, send special OPS to take down dictators and we are not able to save AMERICANS who are now living in harms way. We have enough problems to deal with in our every day lives, but this has LITERALLY DROWNED US. We need to stick together and need an independent advocate to get to the bottom of this and finally put us at peace. I am working on it, but one hand cannot clap alone.

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