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Flood Mitigation Initiative Rejected by Butler Council

Borough decides not to join in Montville Township plan that would have reservoirs lower water levels during hurricane seasons.

While Montville Township officials feel they may be making progress toward flood mitigation with an initiative they have been working on to lower reservoir water levels during hurricane seasons, not all municipalities they have asked to join forces wih feel the same.

Butler Borough Council members discussed the initiative and decided not to team up with Montville at Tuesday night's council meeting. The initiative involves allowing the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) to issue orders to the Jersey City Reservoir and Boonton Dam during hurricane seasons asking them to lower the water storage levels. 

Butler officials were not keen on having the NJDEP regulate the water levels at the reservoir.

"I don't think we should be controlled by them to tell us what to do. I think we should keep the control here," Butler Mayor Robert Alviene said Tuesday.

Montville Township Committeeman Scott Gallopo, who sits on a flood mitigation committee in the township, has said that operating the reservoirs at a high capacity during hurricane seasons may contribute to excess water and flooding. He believes this was the case during the tropical storm that followed Hurricane Irene, when neighborhoods in Pine Brook, near Hatfield Creek and in the Lake Hiawatha section of Parsippany, saw severe flooding.

"Perhaps United Water should be running that reservoir at, let's say, 75 percent or 80 percent capacity during hurricane season," Gallopo said in August.

In order to move ahead with the initiative, Gallopo has told his own committee members that more support garnered from the municipalities would make a better case for legislators to bring the issue up on the state level.

The Butler Council began discussing the initiative and whether to join in at the Sept. 18 meeting, but council members wanted more time to consider what it meant to adopt an ordinance in agreement with the plan. One of the concerns of Butler Borough Administrator James Lampmann was that if the water level is lowered and rain does not occur, a shortage could be created for customers.

This remained a concern for council members Tuesday as they decided not to adopt an ordinance that coincides with Montville's plan.

Richard Dean October 04, 2012 at 10:24 AM
While I am a supporter of the proposal for lowering the big reservoirs whenever they are already full and there is a serious threat of flooding caused by any major rainfall then closing the gates when the storm arrives, I do believe that the vote taken by our mayor and council in Butler is correct. Having said that I do know that in the past many times when there was a threat of flooding due to heavy rains approaching that our own officials have taken voluntary action to gradually release water from our Kakeout Reservoir located on the stream named both Kikeout Brook and Stone House Brook located at the base of Kikeout Mountain in Kinnelon.

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