KENILWORTH, NJ - The Mayors Council Rahway River Watershed Flood Control will heading to Trenton this week to meet with DEP Commissioner Robert Martin on Friday to urge the state to move ahead on the state funding of the Rahway River Flood Mitigation plan including getting to construction in 2017.
In a meeting organized by Senator Tom Kean and expected to be attended by Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz and Assemblyman Jon Bramnick, the Mayors call for state action is the main topic.
Union Township Mayor Manuel Figueiredo said, "We have been representing our communities to urge the State of New Jersey to begin construction of the Rahway River flood mitigation plan in 2017. As Mayor I have led Union’s effort to better protect our residents and our visit to Trenton to meet with the state DEP Commissioner Robert Martin is to remind him of the state’s pledge to follow through on this important effort.”
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Mayors will be asking that the state to fund in first quarter 2017 the Orange Reservoir Dam integrity study to ensure the dam is safe and meets federal standards.
Union County Freeholder Chairman Bruce Bergen said, "Over $100 million of damages were faced by residents along the Rahway River during Irene. The Federal and State Rahway River Flood Mitigation Plan has significant flood mitigation benefits including material water elevation reductions from Millburn to Rahway. Known as Alternative 4a, the plan is a revision of one of the 10 alternatives that the U.S. Army Corps and the NJ Department of Environmental Protection evaluated."
Alternative 4a includes modification to the Orange Reservoir, adding two 36 inch outfall pipes permitting the reservoir to be drained two days before a major storm to reduce significantly the water elevation downstream during the major storm event. There will be downstream channel improvements through Cranford with one and one-half mile of channel deepening. Also there is expected to be lifting or acquisition of numerous properties in the City of Rahway. The plan had the strongest benefit cost ratio as part of the federal process meaning the project benefits (less flood damages) exceed project costs.
Also expected in the next week is the U.S. Congress is expected to pass and send to the President the Federal Water Resources Act which authorizes the U.S. Army Corps as a federal priority the acceleration of the Rahway River Watershed Flood Mitigation Plan. Senators Cory Booker and Robert Menendez and Congressmen Leonard Lance andDonald Payne were instrumental in this legislative action representing in a great way Union and Essex County communities.
The Mayors Council Rahway River Watershed Flood Control has expressed appreciation for making the plan a priority. Mayor Kalnins said “ We appreciate the efforts of our federal legislators working on our behalf. Now we need the state to take this major step forward and expedite the plan. ” The Mayors Council includes: Maplewood Mayor Victor Deluca, Mayor Manual Figueiredo; Former Millburn Mayor Robert Tillotson; Cranford Mayor Andis Kalnins; Millburn Mayor Ted Bourke; Rahway Mayor Sam Steinman; Springfield Mayor Jerry Fernandez; ; and Kenilworth Mayor Anthony DeLuca.