Second River Gauge Being Installed On Peckman River

The second of four gauges is currently being installed in the Peckman River underneath the Main Street bridge. The gauges will collect important data and monitor the river flow during weather events. Credits: James Damiano

LITTLE FALLS, N.J. - The installation of a second gauge on the Peckman River is almost complete, according to Little Falls Mayor James Damiano. The first gauge of four river gauges was installed on the Francisco Bridge on May 8. A second gauge, being installed this week, is being placed underneath the Main Street bridge.

According to Damiano, the gauges will allow Little Falls, Cedar Grove, and Woodland Park the ability to monitor not only the current flow of the river, but predict any surges that the river may have. 

The request for the gauges originated from the Passaic Valley Regional Flood Control Board, representing Woodland Park, Little Falls and Cedar Grove to Passaic County Freeholders, through the Office of Emergency Management (OEM), in order to fund or partially fund the purchase, installation and maintenance of three gauges. The Township of Little Falls received state and county permits for the installation of the long awaited devices last month.

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Nick Agnoli, prior flood board chairman, who is now a technical advisor to the board, made cost related comparisons last year, estimating that a gauge serviced by Gotham Analytics, the company that produces the river gauges, would be $36,000 for five years, with an additional fee of $3,600 for installation, totaling $39,600. The cost would have resulted in the amount of $20,000 for each gauge under the United States Geological Survey, including $60,000 per year for a five-year service, totaling $300,000.

According to Agnoli, the installation of the second flow gauge on the Peckman River, by Gotham Analytics, helps increase awareness of both flooding on the Peckman as a result of heavy rains and any debris blockage underneath Main Street.

"The gauges will provide real-time data to the towns about the depth of flows and the potential for flooding in the three towns," Agnoli explained. "The second gauge will be followed by another critical gauge to be places on the Route 46 bridge. The bridge was badly damaged during Tropical Storm Floyd in 1999, in part due to blockage from debris."

Agnoli also added that more information on water levels and the condition of the river is beneficial.

"It is very important to understand how deep the water is in the Peckman River and whether bridges and culverts that serve our communities are clear of debris," he said.

Damianio praised the local flood board for their efforts.

"A huge thank you to the flood board for making these gauges a reality," Damiano said.

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