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Re: WTF Healy & Fulop...GET THE SIMPLE SH*T RIGHT - SORT OUT OUR SEWERS!
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Just read through this as I'd seen that NYT article also. Did anything ever happen after those storms or did it all just blow over. What about that guy living on 4th St whose condo was basically wrecked? Did the city help pay for the damages? This is a very serious issue and one that will only get worse if the NE coast gets whacked by any kind of serious storm...

Posted on: 2009/11/24 17:29
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Re: WTF Healy & Fulop...GET THE SIMPLE SH*T RIGHT - SORT OUT OUR SEWERS!
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it's unbelievable that with all of the new development in the past few years there are no incentives or regulations for best stormwater management practices (rain swales, green roofs, permeable pavement walkways etc.).

at least NYC is starting to try to address the issue - as far as I know, JC is doing very little.
didn't healy win some "green" mayor award? what a joke.

Posted on: 2009/11/24 16:14
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Re: WTF Healy & Fulop...GET THE SIMPLE SH*T RIGHT - SORT OUT OUR SEWERS!
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NYtimes front page article on flooding & sewage overflows, ours is exactly the same.

November 23, 2009
As Sewers Fill, Waste Poisons Waterways
By CHARLES DUHIGG

It was drizzling lightly in late October when the midnight shift started at the Owls Head Water Pollution Control Plant, where much of Brooklyn?s sewage is treated.

A few miles away, people were walking home without umbrellas from late dinners. But at Owls Head, a swimming pool?s worth of sewage and wastewater was soon rushing in every second. Warning horns began to blare. A little after 1 a.m., with a harder rain falling, Owls Head reached its capacity and workers started shutting the intake gates.

That caused a rising tide throughout Brooklyn?s sewers, and untreated feces and industrial waste started spilling from emergency relief valves into the Upper New York Bay and Gowanus Canal.

?It happens anytime you get a hard rainfall,? said Bob Connaughton, one the plant?s engineers. ?Sometimes all it takes is 20 minutes of rain, and you?ve got overflows across Brooklyn.?

One goal of the Clean Water Act of 1972 was to upgrade the nation?s sewer systems, many of them built more than a century ago, to handle growing populations and increasing runoff of rainwater and waste. During the 1970s and 1980s, Congress distributed more than $60 billion to cities to make sure that what goes into toilets, industrial drains and street grates would not endanger human health.

But despite those upgrades, many sewer systems are still frequently overwhelmed, according to a New York Times analysis of environmental data. As a result, sewage is spilling into waterways.

In the last three years alone, more than 9,400 of the nation?s 25,000 sewage systems ? including those in major cities ? have reported violating the law by dumping untreated or partly treated human waste, chemicals and other hazardous materials into rivers and lakes and elsewhere, according to data from state environmental agencies and the Environmental Protection Agency.

But fewer than one in five sewage systems that broke the law were ever fined or otherwise sanctioned by state or federal regulators, the Times analysis shows.

It is not clear whether the sewage systems that have not reported such dumping are doing any better, because data on overflows and spillage are often incomplete.

As cities have grown rapidly across the nation, many have neglected infrastructure projects and paved over green spaces that once absorbed rainwater. That has contributed to sewage backups into more than 400,000 basements and spills into thousands of streets, according to data collected by state and federal officials. Sometimes, waste has overflowed just upstream from drinking water intake points or near public beaches.

There is no national record-keeping of how many illnesses are caused by sewage spills. But academic research suggests that as many as 20 million people each year become ill from drinking water containing bacteria and other pathogens that are often spread by untreated waste.

A 2007 study published in the journal Pediatrics, focusing on one Milwaukee hospital, indicated that the number of children suffering from serious diarrhea rose whenever local sewers overflowed. Another study, published in 2008 in the Archives of Environmental and Occupational Health, estimated that as many as four million people become sick each year in California from swimming in waters containing the kind of pollution often linked to untreated sewage.

Around New York City, samples collected at dozens of beaches or piers have detected the types of bacteria and other pollutants tied to sewage overflows. Though the city?s drinking water comes from upstate reservoirs, environmentalists say untreated excrement and other waste in the city?s waterways pose serious health risks.

A Deluge of Sewage

?After the storm, the sewage flowed down the street faster than we could move out of the way and filled my house with over a foot of muck,? said Laura Serrano, whose Bay Shore, N.Y., home was damaged in 2005 by a sewer overflow.

Ms. Serrano, who says she contracted viral meningitis because of exposure to the sewage, has filed suit against Suffolk County, which operates the sewer system. The county?s lawyer disputes responsibility for the damage and injuries.

?I had to move out, and no one will buy my house because the sewage was absorbed into the walls,? Ms. Serrano said. ?I can still smell it sometimes.?

When a sewage system overflows or a treatment plant dumps untreated waste, it is often breaking the law. Today, sewage systems are the nation?s most frequent violators of the Clean Water Act. More than a third of all sewer systems ? including those in San Diego, Houston, Phoenix, San Antonio, Philadelphia, San Jose and San Francisco ? have violated environmental laws since 2006, according to a Times analysis of E.P.A. data.

Thousands of other sewage systems operated by smaller cities, colleges, mobile home parks and companies have also broken the law. But few of the violators are ever punished.

The E.P.A., in a statement, said that officials agreed that overflows posed a ?significant environmental and human health problem, and significantly reducing or eliminating such overflows has been a priority for E.P.A. enforcement since the mid-1990s.?

In the last year, E.P.A. settlements with sewer systems in Hampton Roads, Va., and the east San Francisco Bay have led to more than $200 million spent on new systems to reduce pollution, the agency said. In October, the E.P.A. administrator, Lisa P. Jackson, said she was overhauling how the Clean Water Act is enforced.

But widespread problems still remain.

?The E.P.A. would rather look the other way than crack down on cities, since punishing municipalities can cause political problems,? said Craig Michaels of Riverkeeper, an environmental advocacy group. ?But without enforcement and fines, this problem will never end.?

Plant operators and regulators, for their part, say that fines would simply divert money from stretched budgets and that they are doing the best they can with aging systems and overwhelmed pipes.

New York, for example, was one of the first major cities to build a large sewer system, starting construction in 1849. Many of those pipes ? constructed of hand-laid brick and ceramic tiles ? are still used. Today, the city?s 7,400 miles of sewer pipes operate almost entirely by gravity, unlike in other cities that use large pumps.

New York City?s 14 wastewater treatment plants, which handle 1.3 billion gallons of wastewater a day, have been flooded with thousands of pickles (after a factory dumped its stock), vast flows of discarded chicken heads and large pieces of lumber.

When a toilet flushes in the West Village in Manhattan, the waste runs north six miles through gradually descending pipes to a plant at 137th Street, where it is mixed with so-called biological digesters that consume dangerous pathogens. The wastewater is then mixed with chlorine and sent into the Hudson River.

Fragile System

But New York?s system ? like those in hundreds of others cities ? combines rainwater runoff with sewage. Over the last three decades, as thousands of acres of trees, bushes and other vegetation in New York have been paved over, the land?s ability to absorb rain has declined significantly. When treatment plants are swamped, the excess spills from 490 overflow pipes throughout the city?s five boroughs.

When the sky is clear, Owls Head can handle the sewage from more than 750,000 people. But the balance is so delicate that Mr. Connaughton and his colleagues must be constantly ready for rain.

They choose cable television packages for their homes based on which company offers the best local weather forecasts. They know meteorologists by the sound of their voices. When the leaves begin to fall each autumn, clogging sewer grates and pipes, Mr. Connaughton sometimes has trouble sleeping.

?I went to Hawaii with my wife, and the whole time I was flipping to the Weather Channel, seeing if it was raining in New York,? he said.

New York?s sewage system overflows essentially every other time it rains.

Reducing such overflows is a priority, city officials say. But eradicating the problem would cost billions.

Officials have spent approximately $35 billion over three decades improving the quality of the waters surrounding the city and have improved systems to capture and store rainwater and sewage, bringing down the frequency and volume of overflows, the city?s Department of Environmental Protection wrote in a statement.

?Water quality in New York City has improved dramatically in the last century, and particularly in the last two decades,? officials wrote.

Several years ago, city officials estimated that it would cost at least $58 billion to prevent all overflows. ?Even an expenditure of that magnitude would not result in every part of a river or bay surrounding the city achieving water quality that is suitable for swimming,? the department wrote. ?It would, however, increase the average N.Y.C. water and sewer bill by 80 percent.?

The E.P.A., concerned about the risks of overflowing sewers, issued a national framework in 1994 to control overflows, including making sure that pipes are designed so they do not easily become plugged by debris and warning the public when overflows occur. In 2000, Congress amended the Clean Water Act to crack down on overflows.

But in hundreds of places, sewer systems remain out of compliance with that framework or the Clean Water Act, which regulates most pollution discharges to waterways. And the burdens on sewer systems are growing as cities become larger and, in some areas, rainstorms become more frequent and fierce.

New York?s system, for instance, was designed to accommodate a so-called five-year storm ? a rainfall so extreme that it is expected to occur, on average, only twice a decade. But in 2007 alone, the city experienced three 25-year storms, according to city officials ? storms so strong they would be expected only four times each century.

?When you get five inches of rain in 30 minutes, it?s like Thanksgiving Day traffic on a two-lane bridge in the sewer pipes,? said James Roberts, deputy commissioner of the city?s Department of Environmental Protection.

Government?s Response

To combat these shifts, some cities are encouraging sewer-friendly development. New York, for instance, has instituted zoning laws requiring new parking lots to include landscaped areas to absorb rainwater, established a tax credit for roofs with absorbent vegetation and begun to use millions of dollars for environmentally friendly infrastructure projects.

Philadelphia has announced it will spend $1.6 billion over 20 years to build rain gardens and sidewalks of porous pavement and to plant thousands of trees.

But unless cities require private developers to build in ways that minimize runoff, the volume of rain flowing into sewers is likely to grow, environmentalists say.

The only real solution, say many lawmakers and water advocates, is extensive new spending on sewer systems largely ignored for decades. As much as $400 billion in extra spending is needed over the next decade to fix the nation?s sewer infrastructure, according to estimates by the E.P.A. and the Government Accountability Office.

Legislation under consideration on Capitol Hill contains millions in water infrastructure grants, and the stimulus bill passed this year set aside $6 billion to improve sewers and other water systems.

But that money is only a small fraction of what is needed, officials say. And over the last two decades, federal money for such programs has fallen by 70 percent, according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, which estimates that a quarter of the state?s sewage and wastewater treatment plants are ?using outmoded, inadequate technology.?

?The public has no clue how important these sewage plants are,? said Mr. Connaughton of the Brooklyn site. ?Waterborne disease was the scourge of mankind for centuries. These plants stopped that. We?re doing everything we can to clean as much sewage as possible, but sometimes, that isn?t enough.?

Posted on: 2009/11/23 21:12
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Re: WTF Healy & Fulop...GET THE SIMPLE SH*T RIGHT - SORT OUT OUR SEWERS!
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A fellow on the Yahoo Group JCSOS (created by Jersey City Ward E Councilman, Steve Fulop, to provide a forum for discussion about the problem of chronic flooding in Jersey City, NJ. Membership is open to all individuals and businesses in Jersey City) posted this:

I have a US EPA investigator coming to my home this Friday due to the
health and safety issues from the sewage flooding into homes. His
name is Larry Gaugler 212-637-3950. He said it would be helpful if he
could visit other affected people. Please give him a call or send me
your contact info and I will forward it to him.


And remember to send your completed JCMUA questionaires to Councilman Fulop's off. These will be copied and delivered to the JCMUA. If you have already mailed yours to the JCMUA, please send a copy to Councilman Fulop's office.

Municipal Council Office
280 Grove St. Room 202
Jersey City, NJ 07302
Attn: Councilman Steven Fulop

Posted on: 2007/5/15 16:02
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Re: WTF Healy & Fulop...GET THE SIMPLE SH*T RIGHT - SORT OUT OUR SEWERS!
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That's what I call clever advertising.

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Posted on: 2007/4/27 1:31
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Re: WTF Healy & Fulop...GET THE SIMPLE SH*T RIGHT - SORT OUT OUR SEWERS!
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Home Depo or a Boating Store

Posted on: 2007/4/24 16:20
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Re: WTF Healy & Fulop...GET THE SIMPLE SH*T RIGHT - SORT OUT OUR SEWERS!
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I understand the basic concept of a sump pump - but can anyone provide the details of where / how it is installed, and if there are different sump pump options available to home owners?

The recent owner of our "monument" had a lot of work done while she owned it. Unfortunately, she made poor choices at every turn regarding the level of workmanship and materials. For instance - she had the entire basement re-done, with a new drain, but did not install a sump pump. (yes, we get water in the basement every time there's a storm) Is it too late or overly costly for us to have a sump pump?

Posted on: 2007/4/24 16:17
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Re: WTF Healy & Fulop...GET THE SIMPLE SH*T RIGHT - SORT OUT OUR SEWERS!
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If you want to make a claim against the JCMUA for losses due to their sewage entering your house, call (201) 432-1150, ask for Joe Popovich and have him mail you a 'Notice of Claim' form. It probably won't come to anything but at least it lengthens the paper trail.

I just called and he told me he would send it out but "in no way does that mean JCMUA accepts liability".

If you have an attorney, see what they say.

Posted on: 2007/4/24 14:36
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Re: WTF Healy & Fulop...GET THE SIMPLE SH*T RIGHT - SORT OUT OUR SEWERS!
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I just called the DEP and was assigned a case #. Let's keep putting pressure on the JCMUA. Let's get this problem solved before people start getting sick or lose their total investment in their homes.

DEP # 1-877-927-6337

Posted on: 2007/4/23 0:37
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Re: WTF Healy & Fulop...GET THE SIMPLE SH*T RIGHT - SORT OUT OUR SEWERS!
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Quote:

mrrogers wrote:
That sewege deal with North Bergen is a scam and a political deal for sacco's support in the ongoing HCDO war.When Cunningham was mayor he was charging North bergen 25 Million dollars for the same thing Healy is doing for 8 mil.



That's infuriating! For the $17 mil difference, we can install heavy-duty sump-pumps all over the downtown area. So, the truth comes out, the SOB raised our taxes for cronyism, not to pay firefighter and police salaries as he claimed.

Posted on: 2007/4/22 16:51
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Re: WTF Healy & Fulop...GET THE SIMPLE SH*T RIGHT - SORT OUT OUR SEWERS!
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That sewege deal with North Bergen is a scam and a political deal for sacco's support in the ongoing HCDO war.When Cunningham was mayor he was charging North bergen 25 Million dollars for the same thing Healy is doing for 8 mil.

Posted on: 2007/4/22 14:14
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A letter to the elected officials of Jersey City-flooding
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Dear elected officials of Jersey City,

In October 2006 my wife and I moved into a condo at 325 4th street (we formerly lived on 8th street and before that on Pavonia Ave.). We paid $452,000 for a 1200 Sq. ft. gut renovation duplex and pay approximately $9000 a year in taxes. My wife and I probably don't fit the mold of the majority of people that own places downtown. We both serve the community that we live in as civil servants and work two jobs each to make ends meet. We spent every dime we had to purchase this condo because we love living in Jersey City and are excited about the current revitalization going on here.

We looked at the purchase of this condo as a long term investment in Jersey City's future as well as ours. Additionally, we want our newborn daughter to be exposed to all of the rich culture that exists here.

That being said, I am not sure if my family and I can continue to live here. In the short time that I have lived in my condo it has flooded each time there is a moderate to heavy rain. Apparently, the downtown city sewer system cannot handle the runoff of any kind of moderate rainfall. When this happens water and sewage pour out of the drains that exist outside in the front and rear yards like a geyser. In addition to that, inside my house, sewage pours out of the toilet and the shower drain. JCMUA officials would lead you to believe that this latest nor'easter was an isolated incident but I have documented that what I have just described has also occurred on March 2, 2007 during a short, moderate burst of rain.

This past Sunday (April 15) was absolutely awful. In a matter of minutes I watched the water rise outside my front and rear doors to a height of almost two feet. I could not open the front door to evacuate my wife and one week old daughter so I had to carry them, hysterically crying, through the front window. Imagine how frightened my wife was as I passed our infant of only a few days to her in the driving, cold rain. I spent the next two days and nights pumping out 10-12 inches of raw sewage from my first floor and trying to salvage anything that wasn't damaged.

That being said, I now fear for the health and safety of my family and I can't seem to get any help. I am learning that my flood insurance does not cover the damage to my condo because although the garden level, first floor has a finished kitchen, bathroom and living room, the federal government which administers the flood insurance program considers it to be a "basement". I may have to pay for the sanitization and restoration of the condo, not to mention all of my ruined furniture, out of money that my wife and I don't have. The JCMUA official that was quoted as saying people in Jersey City have no business living in garden level units should be ashamed of themselves. That is just the kind of salt-in-the-wound-blame-the-victim talk that the tax payers of this great city don't need right now. We need some solutions not deflection.

Additionally, I have contacted the JCMUA several times because I feel that they should mitigate this problem by installing back flow preventers or some other engineered solution. They should also pay for the restoration and sanitization of our home if insurance won't pay for it because as I do research, it is apparent that they were previously aware of this problem yet refused to do anything to upgrade the antiquated infrastructure. They have refused to return my phone calls.

How, can I raise a child in a house that continually gets flooded with city sewage and the bacteria and mold that comes along with it? To make things worse there is no way I can get what I paid for the condo if I were to try and sell it. Now that this problem has manifested itself, I stand to lose my entire investment. If I had known that my home would flood every time it rains, I can assure you I would never have purchased it. How can the city continue to add housing units into an antiquated sewer system that they know full well can't handle them? There was no disclaimer on my city issued certificate of occupancy, "buyer beware, you are purchasing a 'basement' condo that will continually flood". No, they issued that C.O. just as they would for any building that meets the city's building codes.

It is not just me and my family that are affected by the continual flooding. There is one other unit above me that is owned by another young couple. The father of their 3 year old boy is currently on his second tour in Iraq, which leaves his wife to deal with their son's asthma being triggered by the mold that is growing.

As an emergency service worker, I am used to helping others before myself. It is awkward for me to reach out to you like this, but I would appreciate any help your office can provide so that my family and others that suffer the same losses caused by the Jersey City sewer system can continue live a healthy and safe life in Jersey City.

I really don't know what else to do.

Respectfully,

Brett Davis
325 4th Street, Unit 1
Jersey City, NJ 07302
BrettLDavis@hotmail.com

Posted on: 2007/4/22 1:51
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Re: A flood of complaints after nor'easter -- Residents say stormwater/sewage pipes should be separa
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Could this have something to do with our sewers backing up? (I was pretty pissed when I heard Healy sold us out for a quick-fix to the budget.)


(Reposted)

Jersey City getting an infusion of cash - and North Bergen sewage
Wednesday, March 08, 2006
By EARL MORGAN
JOURNAL STAFF WRITER

NORTH BERGEN - In a multimillion-dollar deal announced yesterday, North Bergen will tie into Jersey City's sewage system, eliminating the need for North Bergen to build a $40 million sewerage treatment plant.

Jersey City will receive an initial $8 million as part of the deal, as well as additional fees for allowing the sewage to flow through its system, North Bergen Mayor Nicholas Sacco said at a news conference yesterday at Township Hall.

North Bergen's effluent will ultimately be piped to the Passaic Valley Sewerage Authority facility in Newark.

North Bergen was under a mandate from the state Department of Environmental Protection to substantially upgrade its sewage treatment operation. The DEP must approve the agreement before it goes into effect on June 30.

Sacco, who is also a state senator, said the township will need to borrow $20 million from the DEP infrastructure fund to finance the project. North Bergen will also get a $3 million grant from the DEP.

"Since we're getting the funds through the infrastructure fund we will only have to pay interest on half of the money," Sacco said.

The project will include converting the North Bergen sewerage treatment plant on West Side Avenue to a facility for pumping sewage into the Jersey City connection. North Bergen will also pay for repairs and upgrades on the Jersey City sewage connection the township will use.

The conversion of the treatment plant will save North Bergen about $1 million a year, township officials said. Further savings will be realized from a reduction in the staff operating the plant.

Sacco said the administration is hoping to phase out some of the staff through attrition and to find positions for others in other agencies.

Jersey City Municipal Utilities Authority Executive Director Dan Becht and board president Eileen Gaughan, who attended yesterday's news conference, lauded the agreement.

Becht said the JCMUA will use some of the money to pay an unexpected $2.5 million hike in fees from the Passaic Valley Sewerage Authority.

Alternate JCMUA Commissioner Janet Gaita, however, voiced her opposition to the agreement.

"I don't think this is a good deal for the JCMUA and the taxpayers of Jersey City," Gaita said. "I believe we could have, and should have, gotten more lucrative terms than $8 million since North Bergen was faced with the choice of connecting to Bergen County's sewage system for a lot more money or building a plant that would cost $40 million."

Posted on: 2007/4/21 21:11
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Re: A flood of complaints after nor'easter -- Residents say stormwater/sewage pipes should be separa
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Quote:

One MUA person said to one of the attendees that they have no business living on the ground floor," Mittman said. "That's not what we want to hear. We pay taxes. We pay sewer charges."


Justi's response nailed it when he wrote:

Quote:

(..)
3, if the city certifies a dwelling as habitable (which it does by issuing certain building permits), and then taxes the inhabitants for the privilidge of living there and recieving city services (which it does to me to the tune of $4,000 per year for an 860 square foot place, soon to go up to a post abatement $8,000) then it has a duty to provide those services necessary maintain a basic level of hability, which it certified by issuing building permits. A buyer has a reasonable expectation, when buying an apartment, of not being up to their knees in excrement and water several times a year. I don't care if developers pay to fix the problem. I am already paying, and not getting the problem fixed.



Posted on: 2007/4/21 21:11
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Re: A flood of complaints after nor'easter -- Residents say stormwater/sewage pipes should be separate
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If the problem is mainly that the pipe leading into the Hudson backs up, why not just build a pumping station at the site where the pipe empties into the river? The pumping station could pump the water up to a higher exit point so that if the water level increases water can still flow out into the river.

Posted on: 2007/4/21 20:51
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Re: A flood of complaints after nor'easter -- Residents say stormwater/sewage pipes should be separate
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Okay - if I understand what is needed:

1. A parallel set of sewer lines must be built for stormwater (the existing combined line would remain for wastewater). This would require every street (and some backyards) to be torn up and rebuilt. The existing line, which leaks, would be repaired as needed.

2. Every building would have to be replumbed so that rainwater goes into one system and household water into another (presumably not optional and paid for by owner)

3. Filtration and recycling facilities would have to be upgraded.

Raise your hand if you think this will happen.

It might actually be cheaper to abandon downtown (maybe Marin to the base of the Palisades) and let it revert to a wetland.

Posted on: 2007/4/21 14:52
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A flood of complaints after nor'easter -- Residents say stormwater/sewage pipes should be separate
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A flood of complaints after nor'easter -- Downtown residents says sewage pipes should be separate from stormwater pipes

Ricardo Kaulessar -- Hudson Reporter -- 04/20/2007

Downtown Jersey City residents are blaming the city's antiquated sewer system for the flooding in their homes after last weekend's nor'easter.

The National Weather Service reported that 7.5 inches of rain fell last Sunday alone in the New York City area.

Downtown residents endured not only stormwater seeping into their homes, but also sewage.

They claim that the 100-year-old combined sewer system that runs through most of Jersey City is problematic. A "combined sewer system" means that both wastewater and storm water flow through the same pipes.

Some residents demanded that the system be upgraded soon, before the next major rainstorm hits.

Christine Mittman, who co-owns with her husband an old row house on Sussex Street, took pictures of nearby flooded blocks and homes.

She is organizing a meeting with Downtown residents and the Jersey City Municipal Utilities Authority (MUA), which maintains the city's sewer system, to call for a new sewer system with separate pipes for sewage and storm water.

"The city has to be reasonable and start thinking about improving the sewer system for its citizens," Mittman said. "This is one of the few cities that still has a combined sewer system."

Joining Mittman in her mission is City Councilman Steven Fulop, who represents the Downtown area. Fulop said that his dwelling had no water damage because it's on the top floor of a brownstone. But he said several of his constituents were not so fortunate. He has been receiving photos and paperwork documenting their problems.

He said he plans to bring up the issue at this Monday's City Council caucus.

"Mayor [Jerramiah] Healy talks about Jersey City being a world-class city; yet there's crap floating in people's basements," Fulop said.

Healy did not respond by press time to questions about the city's future plans to deal with flooding.

Not a new problem

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This isn't the first time Mittman has pursued a sewer system upgrade. She organized two meetings between residents and MUA representatives last year to arrive at a solution.

The dialogue didn't go far.

There was low turnout at the meetings. Mittman also said there was very little respect from the MUA.

"One MUA person said to one of the attendees that they have no business living on the ground floor," Mittman said. "That's not what we want to hear. We pay taxes. We pay sewer charges."

Most of the pipes in the system are made of clay or brick. Newer pipes that connect to the main system are made of reinforced concrete or plastic.

Water that is unable to drain properly backs up, creating the potential for sewage to leak into residences.

MUA says money will cause delays

MUA Executive Director Daniel Becht said he understands the complaints, particularly from Downtown residents. He said the MUA is completing a study on improvements to the sewer system but admitted that financial constraints will delay a remedy.

"We are aware of the problems but we have our limitations," Becht said. "To have a new system with new pipes will cost billions. Right now we are looking for alternate sources of funding since federal grants and municipal funds have dried up."

Rich Haytas, assistant to the MUA's Chief Engineer Joseph Beckmeyer, said normally, storm water Downtown would have drained into the Hudson River. But he explained that the unprecedented amount of rain and the high tide added several feet of water to the river. This blocked the storm pipe leading into the river, causing the water to back up.

Haytas' suggestion?

"Pray it doesn't rain like this again," he said.

More than just water

One of the Downtown areas the storm hit the hardest was the intersection of Grove and Grand streets.

Catherine Hecht has lived with her partner Beth Achenbach in the basement apartment at 246 Grove St. for the past eight years. Last week's rainstorm overwhelmed them.

"I got up 3:30 a.m. [Sunday morning] because that's when it started raining," Hecht said. "We started bailing water until 4:30 p.m. Sunday afternoon and then we had to get out of here."

Hecht said the owner of the building had put a French drain in the back yard. A French drain is a ditch filled with gravel that redirects surface and ground water away from an area. They also had a sump pump running and used a wet and dry vacuum to remove water.

It was of little help because they had to contend with the water coming through the building's foundation and from other locations.

"The building next to us is abandoned, so nobody was pumping water out next door, and it ended up coming through our walls," Hecht contended.

She said sewage mixed with the water stained the floors and walls. Several essential household items, including their mattress, had to be disposed of, she said.

"I had a special spray that I used to disinfect every place in our apartment [after the storm], and I also scrubbed with bleach," Hecht said. "But we suffered over $1,000 in storm damage."

Ricardo Kaulessar can be reached at rkaulessar@hudsonreporter.com

Posted on: 2007/4/21 13:48
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Re: WTF Healy & Fulop...GET THE SIMPLE SH*T RIGHT - SORT OUT OUR SEWERS!
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You can make something happen. Councilman Fulop is creating a paper trail and is pursuing action with the MUA but momentum is needed. If you've have flooding issues, an absolute must is to send an email to Councilman Fulop's aide, Tracy at tracylabad0@hotmail.com.

Your email should include your address and if you have any picture of the sewer backup or flooding, all the better if you can attach them.

Next call the NJ DEP. Enough calls and they have the power to fine the MUA into action.

Finally, call the JCMUA. In all likelihood, they won't be very helpful (and possibly even negative, like "its your mistake if you're living in a ground floor apartment") but they do record the incidents and the paper trail may be the most important thing you can do.

Next pass the message along to others who have been flooded. Numbers here are the most critical thing. The more complaints, the more "real" this is. The Chief Engineer from the JCMUA told an audience last summer that they don't get many incident calls except for the usual complainers. Hence their point was that there wasn't a real problem. His final piece of advice, "Don't make your ground floor space habitable and you won't have problems". What a gem of a guy!

Finally, its worth mentioning that there is a standing decree by NJ DEP that Jersey City seperate the sanitary and storm sewers. The JCMUA automatic reply, "there is no money". Hmmm...given that many municipalities in NJ require developers to pay $4000 to $5500 per unit in a development, why is JC leaving loads of money on the table by only charging $1700/unit? With all the units coming online and the added sewage load on the 100+ sewer lines, JC is missing the boat.

It is clear that the JCMUA is asleep at the wheel. We need to WAKE them up.

Posted on: 2007/4/18 20:53
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Re: WTF Healy & Fulop...GET THE SIMPLE SH*T RIGHT - SORT OUT OUR SEWERS!
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what is also great, rush hour monday afternoon, while most of the cars and buses are off the road there are still blockades on center and merseles at montgomery and columbus.

there are no police to direct traffic leaving 3 lanes of traffic to try to weave between the bollards in 3 separate areas, and of course the flooding in the street had subsided by that time...

a funtime was had by all...

not.

Posted on: 2007/4/17 1:45
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Re: WTF Healy & Fulop...GET THE SIMPLE SH*T RIGHT - SORT OUT OUR SEWERS!
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In the rest of the state:
- NJ declares a state of emergency.
- Union City major asks people to call him or the police for assistance with housing or clean-up
- Hoboken mayor attempts to explain the flooding and when it will subside

Meanwhile in JC:
- 1,400 emergency calls are made
- JC Fire and Police report widespread flooding
- City responds next day by sweeeping the streets and ticketing cars many of which were caught in the flooding

However i think i might have seen a 747 circling the City today with the id JCAF1....

Posted on: 2007/4/17 1:35
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Re: WTF Healy & Fulop...GET THE SIMPLE SH*T RIGHT - SORT OUT OUR SEWERS!
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Quote:

DanL wrote:
This can / should be an election issue. Getting the funding to study the sewer system city-wide and create a plan to fix/improve/meet future demand etc.

To start with, ask the questions.

Yes, a member of HPNA did a great deal of research on this issue and shared with others.

Seems to me that it is our municipal government's job/responsibility to keep sewer water out of our homes.


It was Tom Gibbons who has dealt extensively with this issue, he posted on the subject here
previous flooding thread

This flooding of our homes is not an act of god or due to flaws in our basements, its a failure of the basic infrastructure of this city. The plumbing of 130 year old houses gets renovated, so too should the sewer system. But the city won't recognize the problem because that would correctly imply they're responsible for fixing it.

Posted on: 2007/4/16 20:41
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Re: WTF Healy & Fulop...GET THE SIMPLE SH*T RIGHT - SORT OUT OUR SEWERS!
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?? preserving historic homes and structures does not preclude maintenance or upgrading mechanicals, our old home has a toilet, running water, electrical and gas service....

while some due dilligence can forsee some problems, but who could imagine the poor state our city's infrastructure, dysfuntion and just flat out horrible governance. It is too unbelievable, until you live it. I couldn't.

There is an article posted on this site from USA Today calling JC as a model of the urban future, a "glowing" example of planning / smart growth, with no mention of the problems.

Should not broken sewers, schools, parks, streets, public processes be fixed? I do not see why not, if enough people care ..... vote...... participate ......

Posted on: 2007/4/16 20:32
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Re: WTF Healy & Fulop...GET THE SIMPLE SH*T RIGHT - SORT OUT OUR SEWERS!
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just a reminder, i live in a flooded downtown brownstone too without hot water and who knows what else to look forward to when i get home.

but this is a dumbass place to live and have a city. its built over a swamp and it is your responsibility to protect yourself or deal with the consequences.

it is only going to get worse, and we're due for a big hurricane.

sure the sewers and a lot of other stuff could and should be better, but you knew what you were getting yourself into when you bought

you have nobody to blame but yourself for your situation today

when it happens next time, it'll still be your own damn fault.

vote for change. fix the sewers.

you're still going to be swimming in it if you choose to stay here and don't fix your house

Posted on: 2007/4/16 20:11
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Re: WTF Healy & Fulop...GET THE SIMPLE SH*T RIGHT - SORT OUT OUR SEWERS!
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This can / should be an election issue. Getting the funding to study the sewer system city-wide and create a plan to fix/improve/meet future demand etc.

To start with, ask the questions.

Yes, a member of HPNA did a great deal of research on this issue and shared with others.

Seems to me that it is our municipal government's job/responsibility to keep sewer water out of our homes.

Posted on: 2007/4/16 19:46
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Re: WTF Healy & Fulop...GET THE SIMPLE SH*T RIGHT - SORT OUT OUR SEWERS!
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Quote:

cm4cd wrote:
Guys....i dont care if u give developers 20 year pilots and rape me with city property taxes....but can you please PROVIDE THE F**KING BASICS.

Everyone on my block with a basement is now wading in 3ft+ of sewage because you guys cannot get the simple sh*t right.

Tenth street is now a river. And you've approved umpteen additional properties in the area without any consideration to sewage.

Sort this sh*t out NOW PLEASE.


There are several topic threads here at JCList with more detailed info on the problems downtown with flooding, sewage backup, etc, but you should start here at Mia Scanga's excellent backgrounder on the JCMUA:

JC Municipal Utilities Authority (JCMUA)

The Harsimus Cove Association had the most informed and thoughtful presentation on this subject several years ago by someone local that I will try to find the brochure and post here. Maybe Brewster knows who I'm talking about as he probably spoke at HPNA too.

Posted on: 2007/4/16 19:33
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Re: WTF Healy & Fulop...GET THE SIMPLE SH*T RIGHT - SORT OUT OUR SEWERS!
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ROFLMAO

I am not an immigrant, but I still have no clue what this means.

Posted on: 2007/4/16 19:23
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Re: WTF Healy & Fulop...GET THE SIMPLE SH*T RIGHT - SORT OUT OUR SEWERS!
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We had to close the restaurant. We have FOUR drains which backed up (even after we plugged them) and TWO sump pumps that were pumping the water out to the flooded streets which in turn was just coming back into the restaurant. So this Mr. X has no clue what he's talking about. Although it affected our business, what REALLY sucked was watching our neighbors homes flood. It rained pretty hard but not enough for all this. We have pictures of the street, the useless sewers, basement apartments flooded etc... Anybody want to go to City Hall with this count us in.

Posted on: 2007/4/16 19:04
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Re: WTF Healy & Fulop...GET THE SIMPLE SH*T RIGHT - SORT OUT OUR SEWERS!
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ianmac47 wrote:
Part of the problem is that the catch basins drain to the River. With a storm system as large as the one this weekend, the storm is basically pulling the ocean closer to the shore line and preventing the rivers from draining by raising the water levels. On top of this, record rainfalls are filling the catch basins and soaking the ground, so rain water can't go down into the ground and can't go out to the sea.


Correction: the OVERFLOW drains to the river. The catch basins are supposed to be pumped over the hill to the treatment plant, a system which totally fails in storms due to the antiquated and environmentally irresponsible combined sewer system. I don't buy the storm surge argument since the sewers flood in summer thunderstorms too, which arrive without a regional low pressure system. The system is simply inadequately sized and maintained.

At the very least a large catch pool and pumping station could be built to drain the system into the river rather than have it back up into the streets and homes of the city. But looking for solutions requires acknowledging there's a problem, a step our city won't take.

Posted on: 2007/4/16 18:24
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Re: WTF Healy & Fulop...GET THE SIMPLE SH*T RIGHT - SORT OUT OUR SEWERS!
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Part of the problem is that the catch basins drain to the River. With a storm system as large as the one this weekend, the storm is basically pulling the ocean closer to the shore line and preventing the rivers from draining by raising the water levels. On top of this, record rainfalls are filling the catch basins and soaking the ground, so rain water can't go down into the ground and can't go out to the sea.

Posted on: 2007/4/16 17:00
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Re: WTF Healy & Fulop...GET THE SIMPLE SH*T RIGHT - SORT OUT OUR SEWERS!
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Quote:

parkman wrote:
[
.

.
I?ll certainly second your sentiments. Most basements on Montgomery Street between Jersey and Barrow are flooded with at least a foot of sludge. For twenty years now, each time we get a downpour our basements back up. I have no hot water, heat, or washer/dryer,;all systems are under water. So much for a return on an eighteen percent increase in taxes.[/quote]



How beautifully expressed.
I had some gutter backflow come in, no biggie; but neighbors had some serious nasty stuff happening.
It takes only a few inches of rain to paralyze our
fair burg. And when you tell people from
elsewhere how much you pay in taxes, the look
of shock on their faces is priceless. The joke is on us.

Posted on: 2007/4/16 16:49
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