Thursday, July 14, 2005

Water, Water, Everywhere

Water, Water, Everywhere
Stormwater runoff from roadways and warehouses floods Green Acres.

Flooded Farmland on Green Acres Property testifies to questionable stormwater runoff practices. Trees now surrounded by standing water since spring may not survive the soaking.

Somehow, somewhere, someday, warehouse developers on the east side of the New Jersey Turnpike decided to drain excess stormwater from their sites off of their property, under the Turnpike, and onto the land beyond.

EVA was alerted to this during the recent megawarehouse hearings in South Brunswick when the applicant casually stated that some of their excess stormwater runoff would be sent under the NJ Turnpike and into the Pigeon Swamp. EVA "ears pricked up" at this statement as we immediately began to grow concerned.

Just because there is a swamp nearby, does not mean that excess water belongs there. Nature has created a delicate balance between its wetlands and its more absorbant soils. The area we are talking about illustrates this balance.

To the east, where the warehouses are being proposed and already built, lies a critical recharge area for the underground aquifer. Soils and substructures there quickly absorb the water from rainfalls and take them into the water storage areas below. While some runoff does occur, nature dictates the paths of that water, not man's engineering. Nature has managed to keep itself pretty content over the years.

To the west lie the less porous wetlands. Those areas stay wet because they are low lying, they might be underlaid with clay soils that hold water to the surface, or they may have naturally high water tables fed by underground springs. Here the plant life and animals are adapted to living in contually wet conditions. Once more, nature has maintained its own balance.

But now, with the additional runoff from the east, areas once dry are soaking and have been under water since the first thaws of early Spring. Once tillable farmland is now unsable because it sits under water.

Standing water fills section of farm field, surrounding by rows of corn. Much of the time, the water flows in a stream across the farm road. What was once dry land has been soaked for months.

Worse, trees, not at all adapted to swamp life have been in standing water for months. It is not likely that they will survive this incessent soaking of their roots and trunks.

How did this happen? Who allowed it? EVA is investigating. We will keep you posted on the results.


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