Melham leads tour of dignitaries in areas flooded by Third River

Jaffe Comm.

Mayor Michael Melham recently led a contingent of officials that included state Sen. Teresa Ruiz and members of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) on a tour of Belleville neighborhoods that routinely flood from the Third River.

The group, which also included Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo Jr., Assemblywoman Shanique Speight, Assemblywoman Eliana Pintor Marin, Belleville Deputy Mayor Naomy DePeña and Councilman Thomas Graziano, navigated dirt paths, pushed back branches and surveyed streams to get a better understanding of the chronic issue.

The tour was convened last week after Melham reached out to Ruiz for help.

Melham said the goal is to mitigate future flooding issues for residents of Fairway Avenue, Suzanne Court, Carolyn Road, Dorothea Terrace and the Bridgebrook condo development.

On the ground in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Ida flooding, this was Melham’s fourth time visiting these neighborhoods.  A few weeks back, Melham invited and welcomed representatives of the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission, who committed to assisting with debris cleanup on the river.

This time, the lawmakers and DEP representatives spoke with residents about the recurring flooding, as well as possible solutions.

“Our leaders on the county and state level responded to our call to focus on this critical issue,” Melham said. “While we can make a list of the problems related to Third River flooding, the first-hand accounts of residents provide a much better understanding of what happens when the floodwaters rise here.”

The Third River originates in the Great Notch Reservoir in Woodland Park and snakes through many municipalities. It runs through the heart of Belleville and its banks spill over during severe weather events, such as when the remnants of Hurricane Ida crashed on Sept. 1.

DEP representatives said they would review flood maps and surveys of the area through the lens of new information gleaned during the walking tour.

“The DEP intends to come back to Belleville with recommendations and suggestions as to where they may be able to help,” Melham said. “We look forward to their expert analysis and suggested remedies. Our residents need help; and Belleville is committed to working with all agencies who can deliver assistance to our residents.”

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Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.