20 Aug 2014
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Study: Floodgates Do Not Increase Flooding Downstream

State releases findings of independent study of the gates on the Pompton River dam.

Study: Floodgates Do Not Increase Flooding Downstream Study: Floodgates Do Not Increase Flooding Downstream Study: Floodgates Do Not Increase Flooding Downstream

An independent study of the floodgates on the Pompton River dam has concluded that the operation of the gates does not increase downstream flooding and that the gates are serving the intended purpose of preventing upstream flooding. 

“The data and the science we now have clearly indicates that the floodgates are not the cause of flooding down stream,” said Bob Martin, DEP commissioner.

The study also concluded that the  prior to Hurricane Irene last August “did not affect the flooding form that storm" and that the maximum flow and elevation of water are the same whether the gates are operating or not.

AECOM, a consulting engineering firm, used “the most sophisticated modeling technology available” to analyze four recent flood events, including Hurricane Irene, to evaluate the operation of the gates. 

That conclusion was part of a report the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) released on Thursday. The report is an update to a 15-point plan on relieving flooding in the Passaic River Basin that . The Passaic River Basin Flood Advisory Committee put that plan together. It outlines short-term and long-term actions to deal with flooding.

Residents in the Riverview section of town have long said that the gates have increased the severity of flooding in the area since they became operational in 2007.

Martin said that “significant” rain and weather events and development in the basin in the past have contributed to the increase in flooding downstream from the dam.

Martin met with the mayors of towns in the basin on Thursday to discuss the findings and the report.

Mayor Chris Vergano was disappointed with the conclusion of the study.

“I was really hoping for something different from the study than what came out of it,” Vergano said. “Clearly when the floodgates open you can see the water rising much faster than it would before the gates were installed.”

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