Who’s protecting the river?

Our community is worried with regard to the future of our town and we have reached out to the DEP for their records regarding permits relating to the Rt. 3 project only to discover there are no permits for “block the block the river.” The DEP says there is “latitude” for this to be done during construction. Gee, does the mean the contractor can freely set up housekeeping and dump debris from their construction job in the River?

“Latitude” – a unique word for something that impacts an entire community. “D” “E” “P” – DEPARTMENT of ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION. Are we the public to assume this eminent department of public safety affords latitude to companies to act without regard to potential hazards and consequences to the public and they can turn a blind eye to sites under construction, or is that “latitude” granted to a chosen few? “Department of Environmental Protection” – what exactly do those words mean? Who are they protecting?

Effort has been made to obtain copies of permits that showed that the DEP or the like examined the impact on the flow of the river. It is our tax dollars that were used to clean up what we endured during the last storm and it will be our tax dollars that will be used for the inevitable damage from the next storm. We are entitled to answers post-haste. We are currently in what has been referred to as an “active hurricane season” We still have crane platforms under the Rt. 3 bridge which, based on the consensus of opinions, is another engineered nightmare. I strongly suggest anyone attempting to enter Rt. 3 West not bring suit against the driver that hits you but to seek remedy from the company that engineered that nightmare maybe if they are held responsible for their lack of foresight they would be more concerned with the safety of those that will be using their handiwork. I wonder how many studies were done at taxpayers’ expense for that engineering feat. Exiting on the east side has its own challenges.

Sen. Paul Sarlo indicated in May that he was going to get those crane platforms out of there. We are still waiting.

A meeting with the public is scheduled for Aug. 15 at the Lyndhurst Senior Building to discuss the river. We cordially invite the Governor, Sen. Robert Menendez, Congressman Bill Pascrell, Assemblyman Gary Schaer, Assemblywoman Marlene Caride and last, but not least, State Sen. Sarlo.

An Internet search shows that State Sen. Paul A. Sarlo (D-Bergen) was listed as the chief operating officer for Joseph M. Sanzari, according to the NJ Legislature website. On his own website, Sarlo lists that he is a licensed professional engineer, licensed professional planner and a certified municipal engineer, and that he holds both a Bachelor of Science degree and Master of Science degree in civil engineering from the New Jersey Institute of Technology. He is also listed as the borough engineer for Carlstadt and is currently the chief engineer of Bishop-Sanzari Heavy Construction.

But has stated to me personally that he had nothing to do with the Rt. 3 engineering feat of the company of which he is the COO.

I truly believe a great deal of latitude was given to that project.

We are witness to extreme weather conditions and it borders on criminal if something is not done very, very soon to dredge the “mud flats,” eliminate the creation of a flood plain and to remove any and all obstructions in the river that hinders its flow.

A meeting is being planned to be held in Lyndhurst on August 15 at senior center to discuss the river. I believe it would be advantageous for representatives from our neighboring communities, such as Rutherford, North Arlington, and Kearny, to attend in an effort to force a remedy as soon as possible without the need for the boiler plate response of “a study needs to be done.” Those of us who live in these bedroom communities have studied the issue up close and personal. Our findings are the riverbed is too high due to years of neglect creating a floodplain, flotsam not removed be it a 30 foot boat or crane platforms and the river is contaminated. These are the results of our studies through four major storms that have hit this area in recent years.

My uneducated opinion (you see, I am not an engineer or environmentalist) is get the obstructions out of the river and lower the riverbed. Then you can deal with the contamination because that is not going anywhere for a very long time.

Common sense dictates that you fix what is fixable, which is the height of the riverbed and study the other issue of contamination, which has been studied for years already, you see that contamination was caused by the very significant reply of “there is latitude given”: that is why the river is contaminated because of that kind of latitude.

Ladies and gentlemen our tax dollars pay these people that have allowed these problems to continue. If each of us were paid 5 cents on every dollar that has been spent on studies I believe it would amount to a significant amount of money.

Marie Cush


The Observer Staff