Route 17 Basin Still an Issue for Hasbrouck Heights Council

The drainage basin at the corner of Route 17 South and Franklin Avenue. Credits: Faith C. Ballantine-Armonaitis
Looking toward Route 17, weeds grow about five feet tall in certain areas along the basin. Credits: Faith C. Ballantine-Armonaitis
Looking west up Franklin Avenue, a town sign honoring the 2006 HHJFL Raiders/Pee Wee football team lays among the weed growth. Credits: Faith C. Ballantine-Armonaitis
One of two drains in the basin. Credits: Faith C. Ballantine-Armonaitis
The second drain in the basin. Credits: Faith C. Ballantine-Armonaitis

HASBROUCK HEIGHTS, NJ – Sick of the overgrown weeds, standing water, and general disrepair at the water retention area on the northwest corner of Franklin Avenue and Route 17 South?  You are not the only one.

Councilman Justin DiPisa angrily responded to Evan Jacobs of Neglia Engineering Associates, the Borough’s engineering company, during his update to the council on August 8, stating that he “was tired of having the Council’s time, meeting after meeting, taken up”  discussing issues with the basin.

Neglia represents the town in dealings with the Department of Transportation (DOT), which is responsible for maintaining the basin.  DiPisa, along with fellow Councilman Russell Lipari, noted that while Jacobs was only the messenger to the DOT,  not the problem, he wanted to understand that his patience was up with their delays and lack of maintenance of the area.

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DiPisa was concerned about standing water in the basin following heavy rainstorms, noting that standing water, if not drained within three days

According to correspondence to Neglia Engineering, provided at the council meeting from the State of New Jersey Department of Transportation, the basin’s downstream storm water conveyance pipe was jetted and cleaned on June 9. (Jetting is spraying water at a high velocity into the pipe, cleaning out debris.). The pipe had been 60% filled with dirt.   On Monday, the location still had standing water present at a field inspection.  

On June 19 prior to a rain storm, the drainage pipe was jetted once again.  After there was standing water once again on June 20, the state referred the issue to the NJDOT’s Division of Environmental Resources for a further look into the matter.

Councilman DiPisa noted that according to the Center of Disease Control, standing water of three days becomes a breeding ground for mosquitos, which poses a health hazard.

“I charge that the DOT is putting the health of the residents of Hasbrouck Heights in jeopardy by their continued inability to get this problem fixed,” DiPisa said for the record.  He noted that with football practice starting August 1, that there was an increase in the number of people down at the field, putting more people at risk for mosquito-borne illnesses.

This is not, as Councilman DiPisa noted, the first meeting that the basin has been a major topic for the Council.  At the July 11 meeting, Councilman Ron Kistner, noting the lack of maintenance,  indicated that he would cut the weeds himself if the state did not.  

“Route 17 is one of the main ways into our community, and if the state does not care, we care” Kistner stated.  

"This is not a new thing," Mayor Jack DeLorenzo noted. "We fought to get to this point, and nor we are going right back where we were before." 

(Taken from approved minutes of the July 11 Council Work Session.)


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