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Township and Engineers to Visit South Mountain Neighbors

Purpose is to explain various flood remediation options on different streets in the neighborhood.

Millburn Township Committee members on the flooding subcommittee will meet with residents of the South Mountain neighborhood on their turf this week to discuss flood remediation proposals with their hired engineer.

Administrator Tim Gordon and either Mayor Sandy Haimoff or Deputy Mayor Robert Tillotson along with engineer Leo Coakley will go to the neighborhood more than once to discussion different options on different blocks about the proposals and about the determination of some land as wetlands.

“The purpose of the meeting is the make sure it’s clear what the requirements are and what the impact will be,” Gordon said Monday night.

The flood remediation proposals were outlined at a and included building a retaining wall near the dike, creating a natural swale that will direct water out of the “bowl” neighbors on Greenwood sit in, making them prone to flooding and creating everyday drainage issues, installing larger drainage pipes in the backyards and more pumps at the pump station on Gilbert Place, in addition, they are studying what to do with the sewage system.

Neighbors are faced with numerous issues including constant backyard flooding that breeds mosquitoes and makes their yards mushy, as well as flooding inside their homes from sewage as well as the Rahway during really large storms like Hurricane Floyd and Tropical Storm Irene – depending on location in the neighborhood.

During Irene, area had several feet of water and sewage backup in their homes before the river ever crested its banks.

Meanwhile, Millburn township officials are awaiting money they applied for from FEMA. They applied for $800,000 and so far have been approved to receive $220,000, Haimoff said.

 Since FEMA will only repay, at most, 75 percent, Haimoff said, the township has also sent a letter to Governor Christie asking that the state pick up the rest.

Residents wondered why Cranford is getting $3.1 million and that residents are being paid for their homes to be raised.

“Cranford go hit much harder than we did,” Haimoff said.

“I had 14 feet of water in my home,” said Dr. Matthew Lipp, who has just recently returned to his Ridgewood Road home after months of re-construction. “I have basically raised my house. Will FEMA be doing anything like that for Millburn? I’ve dealt with FEMA, and they are not forthcoming.”

Coakley is also conducting a study of Millburn’s sewage pipes and the pipes leading into area’s system, run by the Joint Meeting of Essex and Union Counties, which serves seven communities. One of the issues for Millburn is that the flow from all of those communities, including Summit, Maplewood and South Orange, ends up converging in the South Mountain area before funneling into larger pipes that carry it to the plant in Elizabeth.

Whatever proposals come from that study, will carry a hefty price tag, said Tom McDermott, Millburn’s representative at Joint Meeting.

The meets next on April 3 at the Union Municipal Building at 5 p.m. and Haimoff, who is on the council, said the will be hearing from the Army Corps of Engineers on multi-town proposals that are supposed to help with the river flooding.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will discuss the evaluation of several priority projects to increase floodwater storage, including assessments of the Orange Reservoir and the South Mountain reservation.

That meeting is open to the public, but Haimoff said she will also report on the meeting at that night’s Millburn Township Committee meeting as well. 

In other action, the township hired two new police officers Monday night, replacing two retired police officers. They confirmed Derrick Czupak and Roberto Delgado, Jr. (Return to Patch later to read more about those new officers.)

my3sons March 21, 2012 at 03:59 PM
I guess the township isn't too concerned with the residents in the Washington school district. Like said before, we got flooded just as bad as South Mountain residents.
Laura Griffin March 21, 2012 at 04:44 PM
The Washington neighborhood is also being studied, particularly with regard to the West Branch of the Rahway and how to alleviate flooding, in part by lowering the levels in the retention ponds and reservoirs upstream/in the reservation. In their discussions, they are keeping the two neighborhoods separate.
my3sons March 21, 2012 at 06:13 PM
they always state they are keeping the areas separate, with town meetings and now this, but the Washington school area really never gets any chance to voice their opinions. When the town was in the beginning phases of Irene's destruction, Washington school residents received automated calls from the township about the meeting but were advised the meeting was only for South Mountain residents. The town was going to hold a separate meeting for those in the Washington area. The meeting was scheduled but we never received phone call alerts like the South Mountain residents did and therefore, noone really showed up. Not a shocker there. South Mountain residents are treated differently even though we in the Washington school district also were flooded and went through the same pain they did. Such a bias town.
Joanne Smythe March 22, 2012 at 12:18 AM
Where is the "Washington School"? Millburn Township schools are: Deerfield, Glenwood, Hartshorn, South Mountain, and Wyoming.
Lucinda Mercer March 22, 2012 at 02:32 AM
What used to be the Washington School is now the Regional Day School on Willow kind of behind the High School. It was given/taken over by the state many years ago (before I moved here in 1991). I presume the Washington School district is the residential area south of Millburn Avenue and west of Main Street.
Joanne Smythe March 22, 2012 at 03:57 AM
Thank you Lucinda.

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