Winter's Pond Dredging Contract Approved, Residents Hope For Flooding Relief
Contractor should start dredging process by August 1
The dredging of Winter’s Pond, a project that Mayor John DaPuzzo called a “long time in the making,” took one step closer to becoming a reality at Thursday’s Council meeting.
The council awarded a contract for the dredging project to KG Marine Contracting, a dredging company from Manahawkin, NJ.
The contract was awarded to KG after Boswell Engineering, the township’s engineering company, advertised for bids for the project. At a cost of $234K, KG came in with the lowest bid. Offers from other companies were generally in the $350 - $450K range, Boswell representatives said.
The project, which would entail the removal of about 18,000 cubic feet of sand and silt, has already received approvals from the county and Rockland Electric. Before the actual dredging begins, Boswell said it will meet with residents in the area to get approval to use certain sections of land for stock piling and other construction-related purposes. KG Marine Contracting will also meet with Rockland Electric again to discuss specific procedures for dredging underneath low-hanging electrical wires above the pond.
The council expressed a desire to move forward with this project as quickly as possible, as an agreement with the Bergen County Mosquito Commission to undertake the project several years ago fell though. The BCMC halted the project because it felt it did not have the sufficient equipment to dredge underneath the low-hanging electrical wires, Council President John Roth explained.
According to Business Administrator Brian Campion, the timetable for the project’s completion is “as soon as possible.” He expects the company to install a pipe necessary for the project this week, begin the dredging process, which should take about a month, by August 1, and export the removed silt by the end of the calendar year, so long as the “weather cooperates.”
The export process is not included in the $234K bid, but Campion assured the council that the township has sufficient funds in its budget to cover export costs.
For the residents who live around the 4.7-acre pond, this announcement could not have come soon enough. At the meeting, about a dozen voiced their opinions that there is a pressing need to undergo this project, and any others that my help alleviate flooding issues that they said have become increasingly severe over the past two to three years.
“My property is completely flooded every time it rains. I have lived in this town since ’45, and it’s never been this bad,” Emily Buchanan, who owns a home on South Railroad Ave., said at Thursday’s meeting.
“We are paying taxes on property we can’t even use. We want this done right.”
Though the township engineers recommend the dredging of Winter’s Pond be completed, and that it will help with the flooding problems, it may not eradicate flooding completely from the area.
According to Boswell, other factors affecting the flooding in the area include the need for de-silting of the Ramapo River and the Masonicus Brook, and that the current wet cycle is causing severe flooding conditions throughout all of northern New Jersey.
However, representatives from Boswell assured the council that dredging Winter’s Pond, “is the right thing to do. This will help the situation. If the pond were to be left to become a swamp, it would lead to additional flooding.”