Thursday, June 01, 2006

DEP Joins the Flood Controversy

Floods along the Jersey Central Power and Light right of way. This water reaches into the Pigeon Swamp waters.

DEP Writes Letter to South Brunswick

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection has sent a letter to South Brunswick Township ordering a new Stormwater Management Plan which must include the runoff from the warehouses on Davidson Mill Road. The new plan must include a full study of the current system and various methods of mitigating the flooding into the Pigeon Swamp. Since the Swamp is a Category 1 watershed, regulations prohibit stormwater from having an impact in the area. Essentially, "dumping" of runoff from the warehouse district into the swamp is illegal.

DEP environmental engineers noted that flood waters were coming from the warehouses, a contention the EVA had made well over a year ago to the Township. We have been battling development in the area ever since, pleading before the Planning Board, Township officials, and Township engineers that modifications must be made in the stormwater systems of proposed warehouses before they were given approval. Blog entries below have chronicled our successes and failures. Now, at last, with definitive action by the DEP, the Township must listen.

Currently, the Mayor of South Brunswick has designated a task force of residents and experts to examine the problems, but that committee must wait for the Township to select an engineering firm to do the technical study. Using money provided by the Trammel Crow warehouse developers, an environmental engineer will investigate the complete picture of the flooding and determine its effect on the aquifer and the swamp. With the new DEP requirements, there will also have to be a plan to stop the flooding and repair damage it may have caused.

The EVA's position and claims about the flooding have been vidicated by the DEP's decision. At last something will be done because something has to be done, or the Township will be in violation of at least two State regulations. We are relieved to finally see real hope for protecting this vital area.


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