TRENTON, NJ - The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and US Army Corps of Engineers (USACES) agreed this week to narrow the alternatives in the effort to gain flood mitigation in the Rahway River Watershed and focus the final stages of the evaluation on the Alternative 4 and Alternative 7A. The USACES had evaluated ten different alternatives including the development of a South Mountain detention basin before narrowing the alternatives.
In a letter to the USACES, the DEP recommended proceeding with alternatives 4 and 7A, and the USACES has begun the next phase, which is to analyze the benefits derived from each of the proposed project alternatives.
Alternative 4 is estimated to lower river water elevations by 2.6 feet in Millburn and 3.4 feet in Cranford and would also benefit other communities in region. The project is estimated to have the strongest benefit-to-cost ratio of the various structural flood mitigation solutions that were evaluated.
Alternative 4 would modify the Orange Reservoir in South Mountain to permit the reservoir to be drained several days before a major storm thus providing more storage capacity during large storms. In addition the alternative includes either improvements in Lenape Basin in Kenilworth or channel improvements in Cranford.
The Mayors Council Rahway River Watershed Flood Control is now urging citizens to ask that the US Army Corps of Engineers to make the Rahway River Flood Mitigation Plan a priority. Local residents should contact their Congressmen to advocate for the full funding to complete the evaluation in 2014. The Mayors Council will be meeting with the NJ congressional delegation in September for that purpose. An online petition has also begun to gather signatures at Change.org
The Mayors Council is represented by Mayor Robert Tillotson ( Millburn), Mayor Victor Deluca (Maplewood), Mayor Clifton People (Union), Mayor Richard Huber (Springfield), Mayor Andis Kalnins (Cranford), Mayor Scott Klinder (Kenilworth) and Mayor Samson Steinman (Rahway). The organization was formed after Hurricane Irene in October 2011 and has worked cooperatively with the US Army Corps of Engineers and New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to evaluate flood mitigation alternatives.