Hillsdale Seeking Dam Specialist

The borough is looking for an engineer to examine United Water's plan for the dam at the Woodcliff Lake Reservoir.

Hillsdale officials are looking for an engineer who specializes in dams to review United Water's plan upgrade the dam at the Woodcliff Lake Reservoir, according to Hillsdale Mayor Max Arnowitz.

Arnowitz said they will sign a contract by the planning board's August meeting in order to have the engineer complete a report on the plans by September.

United Water developed the plan after the Department of Environmental Protection required they make the dam able to withstand a 1,000-year storm, which would be about six times as powerful as Hurricane Irene. The DEP approved United Water's plan last year.

The project would lower Church Road, which crossed the top of the dam. According to Don MacLachlan, an attorney representing a group of residents called the Hillsdale and Westwood Flood Solution Group, the rate of water flowing into the Pascack Brook could double during storms after the work is done.

Flooding has been a problem along the brook over the past few years. According to Westwood Borough Engineer Stephen Boswell, there were only four storms from 1935 to 1999 that reached the local flood stage of 1,500 cubic feet per second, another four from 2000 to 2010 and then another four last year.

Both the flood solution group and officials have said they want the Hillsdale Planning Board to review the plans.

"What's critical here is that Hillsdale continue to take the lead in requiring that any citizen, be they the most humble individual or the most humble trillion-dollar multinational water company, abide by the rules of the law," MacLachlan previously said.

Rich Henning, a United Water representative, said planning boards do not typically review plans for dams because they do not have the expertise. By hiring an engineer who specializes in dams, Hillsdale officials would have a more experienced voice working for the borough.

The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities is currently reviewing whether they or the planning board will review the application.

Have a question or news tip? Contact editor James Leggate at JMLeggate@gmail.com, or find us on Facebook and Twitter. For news straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Glenn M. Muller July 18, 2012 at 04:32 AM
The Borough of Hillsdale has no more power to regulate the dam than they have power to regulate work on the Garden State Parkway. They are clearly out of their jurisdiction and need to stop entertaining this fantasy.


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