Newark, NJ – The Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission (PVSC) conducted a cleanup of the shoreline surrounding the Great Falls in Paterson on Friday, April 13. The cleanup was conducted in conjunction with the National Park Service. It was held in preparation for National Park Week (April 21 to April 29) and Earth Day (April 22).
 
The Paterson Public Schools, Hamilton Partnership for Paterson, Paterson Museum, Bergen County Zoo, City Green, Fair Lawn Amateur Radio Club, Great Swamp Watershed Association, Paterson SMART and the Passaic River Institute volunteered to assist the PVSC and the National Park Service in their cleanup efforts. Fallen trees, litter and other debris were removed from the shoreline.
 
The Great Falls, which plunge 77 feet over a shelf of basalt, are the second largest falls in the northeast after Niagara Falls. For more than 200 years, the Great Falls have powered manufacturing plants in the City of Paterson and played a major role in the industrial development of New Jersey. They were designated a National Historical Landmark in 1976 and were added to the National Historic Park System in 2009.   
 
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Since its creation in 1998, PVSC’s award-winning River Restoration Program has been charged with preserving and protecting over 100 miles of area waterways. PVSC has removed over 13,000 tons of debris from the Newark Bay, the Passaic River and its tributaries. PVSC has also sponsored nearly 1,260 individual cleanups along area shorelines. In the last two years, PVSC has removed 1,000 tons of debris from these waterways. This was the 20th Great Falls cleanup conducted by PVSC since the inception of PVSC’s River Restoration Program.
 
“The Great Falls are not only an important symbol representing the Paterson community, but also a significant national treasure,” said PVSC Chairman Thomas Tucci, Jr.  “In addition to playing a vital role in the American Industrial Revolution, they boast natural beauty and are also surrounded by a quiet, forested area. As one of the largest wastewater facilities in the country, it is PVSC’s mission to act as good environmental stewards at all times. Routinely cleaning up the Great Falls is a critical part of that process.”
 
"This annual cleanup of the Great Falls is a great time for the park's many partners to gather together for volunteer work and to offer educational programming about this natural wonder," said Darren Boch, Park Superintendent. “And with visitation to the Falls reaching record levels, we must all pitch in to do our part to make the park as welcoming as possible for out-of-town visitors and residents alike."