CLIFFVIEW PILOT HAS IT FIRST: A civic action group leader concerned about the ability of area reservoirs near Westwood and Hillsdale to withstand a blow this weekend from Hurricane Irene officially called on officials today to seek immediate answers from United Water and the state DEP.
Karolina Marin, Woodcliff Lake dam
The letter from Karolina Marin is addressed to Westwood Major John Birkner, along with the town’s OEM Coordinator Darren Blankenbush and Borough Administrator Robert S. Hoffmann, and to Hillsdale Mayor Max Arnowitz and state Assemblyman Bob Schroeder.
The text of Marin’s letter:
On behalf of the residents, and as an urgent matter of the public health and safety, I’d like to request that our town reach out to both United Water and DEP, via a formal letter faxed requesting the following information, as an urgent matter:
1. We need to know in detail the nature and extent of the recent failures on Woodcliff [L]ake, 2011, In particular,
a. The damages on the July 5th week, that triggered emergency releases and the deployment of repair crews. (This was communicated to residents in Hillsdale, see below),
b. The equipment that may have failed on June 23rd and the repairs done, protocol followed to verify the quality and compliance status of any repairs,
c. The repairs being performed on the reservoir as recent as this past week (Aug 18-20th), where repair crews extensively worked at the spillway on the Woodcliff lake reservoir until late night every day,
d. Any other damages, maintenance work and repairs done.
2. The current risk that the state of the reservoirs, gages and spillway mechanisms, up and downstream from Woodcliff lake, pose to the public health and safety of our communities.
3. The DEP awareness and engineering assessment of such repairs and their compliance with existing regulations
4. The plans from both DEP and the reservoir operators, United Water, in light of the upcoming storms from Hurricane Irene. Specifically,
5. Will their levels be lowered, and if so, how much and within what time frame, based on the recent repairs and to protect the health and safety, lives, of the residents downstream?
6. Will the request and statement from FEMA, issued to our region, be considered as a request for emergency operations at reservoirs, considering their integrity can be at stake?
7. Are there any specific procedures derived from learnings from past events, such a Hurricane Floyd, which conditions were similar to the ones Irene may bring as soon as this coming weekend?
The timeliness on which this request is sent to the appropriate entities (i.e United Water and DEP) is critical and makes a difference in our readiness. This needs be issued today. We all know that in an emergency like Floyd, and as documented in our town minutes from 1999 and 2007, United Water stated they need at least 2 days to react to a threat such as the one from Floyd. We can’t take any chances. The people’s safety may be at stake here.
I am also faxing you this request, your response is critical and appreciated,
Wednesday, 24 August 2011 05:48 Jerry DeMarco
ALSO SEE (CLICK ON HEADLINES TO READ STORIES):
CLIFFVIEW PILOT HAS IT FIRST: A member of a citizens action group battling United Water over flooding in Westwood and Hillsdale is urging her neighbors to seek an emergency declaration that reservoirs be partially emptied before Hurricane Irene begins tacking north.Pamela Henkel Rivers of Westwood took this shot of her street in April
“If the projected path forecasts a rainfall here over 3 inches, it will be in a short period of time,” said Karolina Marin of Westwood, a member of the group Flood NO More. “Then at least, WE MUST be ready.”
UPDATE: There’s little chance now that we’ll have any more rain before sun-up — good news for people in low-lying areas. For this night, folks along the Pascack Brook and below the Woodcliff Lake Reservoir can sleep tight.
It’s a peaceful end to what, for some, had been a nerve-wracking extended weekend.
The sirens in Westwood sounded at precisely 5:02 p.m. Monday, amid a torrent of rain and an expected flood of water released from the Woodcliff Lake reservoir, which had already crested before the first drops fell this evening.Monday, 01 August 2011 20:15 Jerry DeMarco
YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: A quartet of floods over a little more than three months this year destroyed hot water heaters, furnaces, and personal property, members of the Flood No More group said during a protest late Monday afternoon outside United Water’s Old Hook Road headquarters in Harrington Park.
The scene Monday on Old Hook in Harrington Park (CLIFFVIEW PILOT PHOTO)
Warnings of controlled releases of excess reservoir water by the utility before a storm have come within no longer than 15 minutes — hardly enough time to move their cars and take steps to protect their valuables — during a series of floods that began in March, the protestors said.
Even worse, they said, those releases haven’t exactly been controlled but more like torrents.
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