The mayors from Woodland Park, Little Falls, Totowa and Wayne sent a letter on April 30, with the endorsement of the Passaic Valley Regional Flood Board, to Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh, opposing the re-installation of flashboards on the Passaic River. The river flow control devices would again be located at the top of the Great Falls in Paterson and divert water into a hydroelectric plant adjacent to the falls, generating electricity and revenue for the city.
“The prior flashboards were removed in 2012 because they caused the waters of the Passaic River to be approximately 24-27 inches higher during high water events and did not break off as originally designed,” Woodland Park Mayor Keith Kazmark said. “We have not seen a devastating flood since their removal and placing the flashboards back is too great a liability for our residents who are victims of flooding.”
The letter, signed by Kazmark, Little Falls Mayor James Damiano, Totowa Mayor John Coiro and Wayne Mayor Christopher Vergano, says that the company which operates the hydroelectric plant, Eagle Creek Renewable Energy, claims that they plan to use a different type of flashboard.
“We, the mayors of four municipalities that are acutely aware of the toll flooding takes on our communities, are not convinced that a 'different’ type of flashboard will guarantee that there isn’t a repeat of past experiences when the Passaic River reached flood stage,” the letter states.
The flashboards utilized by Algonquin Power, the former operator of the hydroelectric plant, prior to their removal in 2012, were exasperating flood issues in the upriver towns, Mayor Kazmark notes.