DEP Wants Schedule For United Water Dam Project
The state Department of Environmental Protection has given United Water until April 1 to outline their schedule for the project.
The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection is requiring United Water to start work to upgrade the dam at the Woodcliff Lake Reservoir "as soon as possible" in a letter dated March 1.
The DEP is requiring United Water to approximately double the rate at which water can flow out of the reservoir so that the dam would not break in a 1,000-year storm.
United Water has until April 1 to submit a schedule for the project.
Steven Goudsmith, a company rep, told Patch that the schedule is still being developed.
United Water's plan was approved by the DEP in late 2011, but work has not yet started. Hillsdale officials have insisted the borough's Planning Board should review the effects the project could have on downstream flooding along the Pascack Brook.
United Water filed a petition with the state Board of Public Utilities, seeking a ruling that the DEP had sole authority. The BPU dismissed the petition without prejudice last month, declining to say that they had the authority to make that decision.
The meaning of that ruling has apparently been interpreted differently by the parties involved. The DEP wrote that the BPU deferred to their "exclusive jurisdiction in this matter." Borough officials and the Hillsdale & Westwood Flood Solution Group have said that the BPU's decision to not decide meant that they still had the right to exam the downstream environmental impact of the plan.
The project could also still be held up by two Hillsdale ordinances passed last year. These laws would give the borough the authority to have the Planning Board review the plans. United Water has filed a lawsuit to void the ordinances, saying that the borough made "repeated attempts to thwart" the dam project.