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10M Flood Mitigation Plan Mulled in Denville

Posted on October 27, 2016

By P.C. Robinson, The Citizen of Morris County

Could a plan to curb flooding in the township finally be on its way?

Could be, thanks to what Mayor Thomas Andes called “wonderful news” at the Tuesday, Oct. 18 Township Council meeting.

According to Andes, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has agreed to perform a $1.2 million flood mitigation study that could pave the way to a federally funded $10 million project. The Corps expects to split the cost with the state Department of Environmental Protection.

Township Administrator Steven Ward said the project, if implemented, would be “the biggest flood mitigation initiative ever undertaken” in the township.

The Army Corps’ agreement to perform the study and possibly fund the project was born from two flood mitigation studies, each costing $25,000, that Township Engineer John Ruschke performed in 2012 and 2014.

According to Ward, the first study analyzed prior Corps recommendations, while the second was conducted to determine if the work was “feasible and affordable.”

Those then led to the Corps conducting last year a $100,000 feasibility study of the $1.2 million study.

Meanwhile, the township initiated several of the smaller scale recommendations, such as pier removal along the river, and the addition of flap valves and manhole seals.

According to the Corps, the new study will be the first of a two-phased planning process to “evaluate all reasonable solutions to the water resource problems identified “in the township. The resulting report would serve “the basis for a decision on project construction.”

The study will take into consideration the addition of floodwalls, culverts and raising roads, and consider other “non-structural measures” that could range from taking no action, to improving sewer outfalls, the provision of low floodwalls with movable floodgates, flood-proofing or elevating homes, and pier removal along the Rockaway River.

Because of its location along the river, parts of the township have been plagued with flooding problems for decades.

The most recent serious flooding occurred following Hurricane Irene five years ago, when several homes and businesses downtown were destroyed by the equivalent of what weather experts called the equivalent of a 500-year-flood.

Source: The Citizen of Morris County

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