Oh, dam!  Tree blocks Third River

Photo by Karen Zautyk/ PVSC workers labor to remove fallen tree from Third River in Belleville.



By Karen Zautyk

We’d heard of the Third River, and suspected we may even have seen it at some point, but it wasn’t until last week that we were certain we were at the actual waterway
After  meandering around a bit, thanks to one-way signs and dead-end streets, we found our way to Grove St. and Liberty Ave., where workers from the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission were removing a fallen tree from the river.
It was no easy task, since the tree was huge, and in that area, the Third River flows through Belleville’s version of the Grand Canyon. By which we mean the banks were astoundingly deep and steep. And we thank the PVSC employees for ensuring we didn’t step off and/or slide down into eternity.
The tree had fallen during Hurricane Irene and took other trees with it, said Brian Davenport, PVSC River Restoration project manager, who was on site. Additional storm-broken branches and debris came floating downstream, met the obstruction, and a dam was created. “Anything bigger than a bottle got stopped,” Davenport noted.
We surveyed the damage on Wednesday, but the PVSC had been working there since the previous morning and expected to remain through Thursday. The workers used a 30-ton crane, flat-bottom boat and other heavy equipment to remove the tree, described as “one of the largest the PVSC has ever responded to.”
The agency had been alerted by two Belleville residents, who feared the obstruction might eventually lead to flooded property.
Executive Director Wayne J. Forrest issued a post-storm statement, noting: “While PVSC plant operators worked around the clock to maintain sewerage operations, PVSC’s River Restoration personnel were deployed to flood-ravaged communities to work with local officials and determine how our services can best help mitigate the continued flooding.”
“PVSC,” he added, “will continue to serve as a resource to the communities within our service area to ensure we are doing everything possible to assist residents during these difficult times.”
We can already vouch for their assisting journalists tottering at the top of a gorge.

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