By Christopher Lotito
|WAYNE, NJ - AUGUST 29: Rains and the cresting of nearby waters caused flooding in an otherwise dry wooded area on August 29, 2011 in Wayne, New Jersey. Rivers in northern Jersey continue to rise and throughout the state forcing evacuations along the low lying areas of the river. Tropical Storm Irene was the first to make direct contact on New Jersey in 108 years, killing at least three people in the state and leaving over 600,000 residences and businesses without power. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)|
One such project is the establishment of additional local flood storage. Often, many of the areas cited for flood storage can turn out to be unsuitable. Existing ponds and lakes may have too many DEP restrictions upon them or else simply be too far below the water table to be practical. This does not mean that they should not be investigated, simply that we should also focus on establishing new sources of water storage.
In Wayne, NJ for example, just upstream of Pequannock Township, is an area known as "Topsoil Depot." This defunct business sits on a chunk of land adjacent to the river and about 300ft by 500ft in size. Such a site, cleared of years of accumulated debris, soil, and garbage, could provide a significant enough amount of flood storage to provide some relief from stormwaters in the area. (It's worth noting that Topsoil Depot is currently being investigated by the DEP for kaofin contamination, not to mention the 60+ years of accumulated construction debris that has been so unethically dumped within sight of the river).
|Business parking lot that drains to a rain garden. A sunken curb retains asphalt, yet lets water flow off the edges. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
Similarly, some urban areas have been known to provide businesses and individuals with tax deductions for using permeable pavers in place of asphalt driveways and parking lots. The monetary savings here is real, as the municipality does not have to address the disposal of additional stormwaters coming off of those properties. Such pavers are both functional and attractive and can even reduce the amount of heat radiated by parking areas.
|Trounce Pond, a stormwater retention pond landscaped with natural grassland plants. Located in the Lakewood Suburban Centre in the city of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
- For a glimpse into the potential flood storage of the site, consider this:
A 15 foot deep circular depression will hold over 260 cubic yards of liquid. That's 3 to 4 times the volume of a typical shipping container! Pequannock's Aquatic Park approaches 640,000 square feet at a variety of elevations and already floods in an uncontrolled fashion during larger storms. (Seen above, a traditional stormwater retention pond.)
|Guard Bank along the|
North East edge of the
Pequannock Aquatic Park.
Christopher Lotito is a member of the Pequannock Historic District, Open Space, and Flood Control Advisory Commissions as well as the author of "Torrent," a book about flooding in the region. Lotito's personal mission is to reduce new taxes, drastically reduce flooding, and preserve more green spaces for our children. Christopher Lotito Profile