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“Rain Tax” ,how about going after wrongdoers ?

photo by Derek Michalski

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Derek Michalski of GreenUSR : Here is my official statement to the press after yesterday’s visit from reporters from NJ media and Sierra Club Director Jeff Tittel. Thank you Jeff for driving all the way from South Jersey to see how stormwater carnage looks in real life. Now it’s time for Governor Murphy to take a drive to Saddle River Valley and see for himself how irrational is the idea of imposing “Rain Tax” a/k/a “Storm Water Pollution Tax” on ALL of commercial property owners instead going after wrongdoers like Toll Brothers that let construction mud allegedly containing lead and arsenic directly into public storm drains and my Pleasant Brook (main feature of GreenUSR). In addition Assemblywoman Lisa Swain, Holly Schepisi and County Executive Jim Tedesco have been shown the evidence below dozens of times so I don’t think there is a person left in New Jersey who haven’t see how Toll Brothers dewaters its construction sites.

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Public Health Concerns Continue to be Raised Over Arsenic Runoff From Toll Brothers Site in Mahwah, Upper Saddle River and Saddle River

Derek Michalski of GREENUSR  and the Staff of the Ridgewood blog 

Mahwah NJ, Mahwah Environmental Commission and its members were apprised over the weekend by Derek Michalski of the situation in USR and ongoing concerns regarding alleged arsenic and lead pollution. Also they were provided with new aerial surveillance video documenting that Toll Brothers is using underground and above ground pumps to dewater “colloidal clay” directly into Pleasant Brook. After full year of Stop Work Order one might think the situation would get better not worse. However USR aquifer is still being destroyed in front of our eyes and the NJ residents who live along the path of the Pleasant Brook are clearly at risk. According to a local physician “the unfortunate reality is that we won’t see real evidence of arsenic issues for 20 years. The time is now to insure the health of those at risk. If this is not done, it is truly a failure of government to perform its primary role in society”.

Continue reading Public Health Concerns Continue to be Raised Over Arsenic Runoff From Toll Brothers Site in Mahwah, Upper Saddle River and Saddle River
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DEP’s Proposed Water Rule Means More Dirty Water

photo at Apple Ridge by Derek Michalski

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Upper Saddle River NJ, The Department of Environmental Protection NJ Department of Environmental Protection is proposing amendments, repeals, and new rules to the Stormwater Management rules, N.J.A.C. 7:8. This is the first rule under the DEP have proposed under the Murphy Administration.  A public hearing on the proposal is today, Tuesday January 8, 2019 at 1:00 pm at the Department of Environmental Protection. Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club released the following statement:

“DEP’s proposed rule fails to adequately protect New Jersey from flooding and non-point pollution. These rules are a step backwards, they do not deal with climate change, more frequent flooding, combined sewer overflows, and would make it easier to build pipelines. It allows for green infrastructure however it says to the maximum extension practice which is a loophole big enough to fit a bulldozer through.  The biggest problem with this rule is that it continues Christie’s rollbacks on wetlands, flood hazard, and stormwater.

“The rule calls for green infrastructure but keeps the current standards in place that do not work. It also does not effectively monitor the green infrastructure. The rules exempt existing development, they do not require retrofitting of stormwater retention and detention basin systems. It does not require enough recharge or to break up impervious cover to absorb more water. Instead, we should be treating stormwater through natural filtration into sub soils followed by vegetation. The proposed rule does not restore the 300-foot buffers, SWARPA, or calls for revegetating stream buffers or riparian corridors as a way of dealing with non-point pollution.

“DEP’s stormwater rule is seriously flawed and does not change the basic standard. The rule treats impervious cover with automobiles different with other types of impervious cover, which we believe is wrong. It does not deal with compacted soils which in parts of New Jersey are like of impervious cover. The rule also does not include any bonding required for infrastructure in case the system fails, it also does not require maintenance or monitoring.

“The model is based on dealing 100-year storm events that we are having every year. The 100-yr storm model does not work because of climate change and frequency of intense storms, we are also getting a lot more rain. Modelers are looking at 250 year and 500 year storms.  This means if you leave along the Passaic or the Raritan River, you’re going to need snorkels. Instead of moving us forward it keeps the status quo.

“Existing development is exempted from the stormwater rule, which is already the largest source of non-pollution in our state. This means a box store being built on a former shopping center or a high rise in New Brunswick will be exempted. Roofs and sidewalks are also not included under the rules, even though they contribute to extra pollution.

“Combined sewer overflow is a major problem in New Jersey, but the rule does not really address it.  CSOs are a health hazard, especially when concerned with sea level rise. The rule does not require any restrictions on holding back on water on ground or near properties. It also has no language that would clean up nitrogen and phosphorous in our water. Dilapidated storm water systems exacerbate the problem by increasing the water in combined sewers and we need funding to reduce the amount of water in sewers during major storm events. Only 5% of streams in New Jersey meet standards for being fishable, swimmable, and drinkable, mostly because of non-point solution. 65% of our streams are impacted by phosphorus. We have to retrofit urban areas for stormwater management. Things like green roofs, wet gardens can help and prevent combined sewer overflow however these methods are exempted because the rule exempts redevelopment.

“These rules do not reverse Christie’s rollbacks on stormwater, buffers, or wetlands. They still give preference for engineered controls like basins and outfall structures that can cause more erosion. DEP’s new Stormwater Management rule does not replace the nonstructural point system and requires most of BMP. Most of BMPs only work 50% of the time in ultimate situations. They do not work in areas with steep slopes or high groundwater. The rules do not deal with total suspended solids and do not have nutrient limits for nitrogen or phosphorus. They need to have those requirements in order to do TMDL.

“Non- point pollution is the biggest source of water pollution in New Jersey. This rule does not change the basic standard of the amount of water that can be adsorbed into the ground or cleanup of non-point pollution. It still has the same standards that do not work in New Jersey in the last 40 years. That is our largest source of pollution mostly because of runoff. We are seeing Barnegat Bay dying because of non point pollution and runoff. Dissolved oxygen levels are dropping due to high levels of nutrients from stormwater, resulting in algae blooms. We have to address the stormwater management and nonpoint source pollution issues in the Bay otherwise we are going to turn the Barnegat Bay into the state’s largest stormwater detention basin as the Bay continues to die.

“DEP is just taking the broken current system and adding some green amendments. This is really green cover for a rule that will cause more flooding and water pollution. The rule has a few positives but overall does nothing to change the status quo of pointless non-pollution.  It also does not deal or address storm impacts from pipelines or industrial compressor stations. The biggest source of pollution we face is nonpoint pollution and we need to retrofit our stormwater basins to protect our waterways, while revitalizing our waterfront neighborhoods and communities. DEP’s first rule is still a Christie rule that also has nothing to do with climate change, sea level rise, and will add just add more flooding. This rule just create more pointless non-point pollution,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club.

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DEP First Clean Water Rule Doesn’t Make Our Water Cleaner

photo courtesy of Derek Michalski

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Upper Saddle River NJ, The Department of Environmental Protection NJ Department of Environmental Protection is proposing amendments, repeals, and new rules to the Stormwater Management rules, N.J.A.C. 7:8. This is the first rule under the DEP have proposed under the Murphy Administration.  A public hearing on the proposal will be Tuesday January 8, 2019 at 1:00 pm at the Department of Environmental Protection

“New Jersey has serious problems with flooding and water quality from runoff. DEP’s new rule is a step backwards and not forward when it comes to dealing with stormwater. It does not deal with climate change, flooding, combined sewer overflows, and would make it easier to build pipelines. The new the rule has too many exemptions and furthers Christie’s rollbacks on protections to our waterways. It allows for green infrastructure which is good however it says to the maximum extension practice which is a loophole big enough to fit a bulldozer through,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “We have waited almost a year for a new Murphy DEP rule to be proposed. The rule is not only a disappointment, but we have to actually oppose it. This rule was worked by the Christie Administration and proposed by Murphy Administration went forward with this anyway.”

The DEP is proposing to replace the current requirement that major developments incorporate nonstructural stormwater management strategies to the “maximum extent practicable” to meet groundwater recharge standards, stormwater runoff quantity standards, and stormwater runoff quality standards, with a requirement that green infrastructure be utilized to meet these same standards.

“The rule has major flaws in it. The model is based on dealing 100-year storm events that we are having every year. It doesn’t really change the flood system. The rule does not look at climate change or the frequency and intensity of storms. This means if you leave along the Passaic or the Raritan River, your going to need snorkels.  Instead of moving us forward it keeps the status quo. It exempts existing development which is already the largest source of non-pollution in our state. Which means a box store being built on a former shopping center or a high rise in New Brunswick will be exempted. Roofs and sidewalks are also not included under the rules, even though they contribute to extra pollution,” said Tittel.  

The NJDEP looks to incorporate green infrastructure to be utilized to meet the same standards groundwater recharge standards, stormwater runoff quantity standards, and stormwater runoff quality standards.

“The rule calls for green infrastructure but keeps the current standards that do not work. It also keeps in place Christie’s rollbacks of the 300 foot buffers, SWARPA, revegetating stream buffers or riparian corridors as a way of dealing with non-point pollution. The amended stormwater rules does nothing to retrofit our stormwater retention and detention basin systems that don’t work that break up impervious cover to absorb more water. This rule is a continuation of Christie’s rollbacks on wetlands, flood hazard, and stormwater that does not protect stream buffers or C1 streams,” said Tittel.  DEP’s proposal for green infrastructure in the new rule is with just an added green veneer.”

New Jersey need at least $14 billion just to fix our combined sewer overflow systems, but overall we need more than $45 billion to fix our water and sewage infrastructure. We’ve been kicking the can down the road for so long that now the road is underwater and the can is clogging a storm drain. The biggest source of pollution we face is nonpoint pollution and we need to retrofit our stormwater basins to protect our waterways, while revitalizing our waterfront neighborhoods and communities.

“The rule does not really deal with address combined sewer overflow. CSOs are a health hazard, especially when concerned with sea level rise. The rule does not require any restrictions on holding back on water on ground or near properties. It also has no language that would clean up nitrogen and phosphorous in our water. Dilapidated storm water systems exacerbate the problem by increasing the water in combined sewers and we need funding to reduce the amount of water in sewers during major storm events. Only 5% of streams in New Jersey meet standards for being fishable, swimable, and drinkable, mostly because of non-point solution. 65% of our streams are impacted by phosphorus,” said Tittel. “We have to retrofit urban areas for stormwater management. Things like green roofs, wet gardens can help and prevent combined sewer overflow however these methods are exempted because the rule exempts redevelopment.”

Over ten percent of the land in New Jersey is impervious surface, making us prone to flooding and pollution problems. The Christie Administration has weakened our coastal areas to more flooding and pollution. Their Flood Hazard rules add more development to environmentally sensitive areas, getting rid of stream buffers, and eliminating protections for headwaters. Then in a one-two punch for water quality, the Administration increased sewer hook-ups in the Water Quality Management Planning rules, which will have a major impact to open space and nearby reservoirs and streams throughout the state. This will especially impact the most environmentally sensitive areas of the Highlands and Pinelands that contain the water supply for millions of people.

“This stormwater rule codifies and will further Christie’s rollbacks. DEP still have not reversed rollbacks on the wetlands and stormwater rules from the Christie Administration but still allows for outfall structure called scours, causing more erosion. DEP’s new Stormwater Management rule does not replace the nonstructural point system and requires most of BMP. Most of BMPs only work 50% of the time in ultimate situations. They do not work in areas with steep slopes or high groundwater. The green infrastructure standards also only deal with total suspended solids, not other pollutants that come off of stormwater runoff like nitrogen or phosphorous,” said Tittel.

The Barnegat Bay is turning into New Jersey’s largest stormwater detention basin and its whole ecology is changing. DEP must control development and sprawl near the bay and prevent massive projects like development in Lakewood that will add more pollution to the Bay.

“This rule does not change the basic standard of the amount of water that can be adsorbed into the ground or clean up of non-point pollution. It still has the same standards that do not work in New Jersey in the last 40 years. New Jersey has serious water problems because of non point pollution. That is our largest source of pollution mostly because of runoff. We are seeing Barnegat Bay dying because of non point pollution and runoff. Dissolved oxygen levels are dropping due to high levels of nutrients from stormwater, resulting in algae blooms,” said Tittel.  “We have to address the stormwater management and nonpoint source pollution issues in the Bay otherwise we are going to turn the Barnegat Bay into the state’s largest stormwater detention basin as the Bay continues to die.”

An important way to improve our stormwater management is to reverse Christie’s rollbacks and put in place stronger protections. The DEP have to address the stormwater management and nonpoint source pollution issues.

“DEP is just taking the broken current system and adding some green amendments. This is really green cover for a rule that will cause more flooding and water pollution. The rule has a few positives but overall does nothing to change the status quo of pointless non-pollution.  It also does not deal or address storm impacts from pipelines or industrial compressor stations. The biggest source of pollution we face is nonpoint pollution and we need to retrofit our stormwater basins to protect our waterways, while revitalizing our waterfront neighborhoods and communities,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “DEP’s first rule is still a Christie rule that also has nothing to do with climate change, sea level rise, and will add just add more flooding.”

A public hearing on the proposal will be Tuesday January 8, 2019 at 1:00 pm at the Department of Environmental Protection, 1st floor Public Hearing Room, 401 East State Street Trenton, NJ 08625

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Destructive Runoff Continues From the Apple Ridge Site Continues One Year Later

the staff of the Ridgewood blog 

Upper Saddle River NJ, for over a year we have covered the story of the devastating impact of the run off from the Toll Brothers site at Apple Ridge. To date nothing as been done to protect the environment of Bergen County , not one politician or DEP official has lifted a hand . So for the talk from the Murphy Administration on “Green” New Jersey, it is nothing but talk and a ruse for tax increases.

 Derek Michalski, from the group GreenUSR – (Upper & Saddle River, Ramapo and Pascack Valley Communities). Wrote yesterday :

“Most people and corporations in this beautiful country end every year on a positive note and with charitable giving activities. With God’s love in someone’s heart you can make a difference with giving. However Upper and Saddle River residents are experiencing another form of giving/receiving or should I rather say ”mud dumping” or “mud receiving“ into their backyards and local aquifer. Apparently Toll Brothers moved their makeshift pump deeper into the “arsenic field” so without the drone no one can see it. How pathetic this situation is when one of the largest construction company in America is allowed to permanently destroy local aquifer in one of the most affluent zip codes in America. Welcome to the land of apathy – zip code 07458. Passing year reminded us during those 12 months of ongoing mud pumping laden with arsenic and lead how close we are to the third world countries in the way behave sometimes. Also did I say Merry Christmas”

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Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over

Honda-Civics-collide-Ridgewood-Police-Ridgewood-Fire-Deparrtment

file photo by Boyd Loving 

the staff of the Ridgewood blog 

Upper Saddle River NJ, the Upper Saddle River Police remid us to drive carefully during the holidays. As Americans hit the road this holiday season to celebrate with family and friends, it’s important that we all drive safely—and safe driving means sober driving. That’s why The Upper Saddle River Police Department will be participating in the NHTSA annual Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over holiday campaign (December 13-31) to raise public awareness of the dangers of drunk driving.

Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over drives home why it is so critical to always drive sober. Over the past 5 years, an average of 300 people died in drunk-driving crashes during the Christmas through New Year’s holiday period. In December 2016 alone, 781 people lost their lives in drunk-driving crashes.

To support Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over, NHTSA released a new advertisement called “No Big Deal,” which vividly illustrates the destruction caused by a drunk driver. This ad is accompanied by a 360-degree virtual reality (VR) web experience of a drunk driving crash scene, nhtsa.gov/crash, that allows the viewer to interact with first responders and understand how one selfish choice to drink and drive can affect others.

The “No Big Deal” VR experience also highlights another consequence of drinking and driving: getting arrested. Law enforcement around the country will be making a special effort during Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over to find and arrest drunk drivers. The average arrest, including attorney fees, fines, court costs, and other expenses, can set you back $10,000. About one-third of all drivers arrested or convicted of drunk driving are repeat offenders.

Protect yourself and others this holiday season by always driving sober. For many, the holidays and holiday parties involve alcohol. Be honest with yourself about how you celebrate, and make a plan to get home without getting behind the wheel. Designate a driver, take public transportation, use a ridesharing service, or use NHTSA’s SaferRide app to call a taxi or a friend to pick you up. The app is available for Android devices on Google Play and Apple devices in the iTunes store.

This is the season of giving, so give yourself and all your neighbors the gift of safer roads by driving sober over the holidays. Carry that safer driving habit into the New Year by making a resolution to always drive sober. If we all do that, we will celebrate the holidays safely and ring in a better and safer 2018.

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The Anniversary of the “forced” rezoning Apple Ridge Property in Upper Saddle River

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Upper Saddle River NJ, Derek Michalski offered us more insights into the “Pleasant Brook debacle “, Another said anniversary is passing by: “Derek Michalski also from Upper Saddle River recounted to the Ridgewood blog ,” in the case of USR two developers father and son “forced” rezoning Apple Ridge property on USR mayor and Council and after obtaining the “rezoning signature” re-sold the same property to Toll Brothers for $20-30milion quick gain. if the town did this deal for its own benefit(residents) we wouldn’t have to raise taxes for decades to come. Thus such chaos is creating enormous benefit to developers and leaving communities in fear.” – YES THIS IS THE SAME 100 acres of DESERT Toll Brothers is using to dewater muddy water laden with arsenic and lead into Pleasant Brook. theridgewoodblog.net/assemblywomen-holly-schepisi-forum-focuses-on-overdevelopement-and-affordable-housing-in-bergen-county/ feeling nostalgic with James J Foytlin. “

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BREAKING : Toll Brothers Has Stopped ALL Pumping Activities into Pleasant Brook in Upper Saddle River

photo by Derek Michalski

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Upper Saddle River NJ, after 10 months of questionable practice of pumping mud into Pleasant Brook Toll Brothers stopped ALL pumping activities into the brook over the weekend. Houses, pumps and generators used to power these pumps were also removed from 19 Meadowbrook Rd. construction site In Upper Saddle River.

Continue reading BREAKING : Toll Brothers Has Stopped ALL Pumping Activities into Pleasant Brook in Upper Saddle River

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Unprecedented environmental disaster in one of the richest zip codes in America

photo by Derek Michalski

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Upper Saddle River NJ, Derek Michalski once again fills us in on the ongoing battle over Pleasant Brook and the unprecedented environmental disaster in one of the richest zip codes in America .  Toll Brothers‘
Apple Ridge Project in Mahwah has been alleged to be pumping mud into local tributary’s down stream in Upper Saddle River and Saddle River .

Continue reading Unprecedented environmental disaster in one of the richest zip codes in America

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The Upper Saddle River Police Department : Bergen County as a mecca for Car Burglaries and Car Thefts

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Upper Saddle River  NJ, The Upper Saddle River Police Department will be joining the national #9pmroutine campaign. The Upper Saddle River Police Department prides themselves on proactive police work. Recent media articles portray Bergen County as a mecca for Car Burglaries and Car Thefts. Our beautiful Borough of Upper Saddle River is not immune to these crimes. As most of the residents know, recently the Upper Saddle River Police Department apprehended two individuals for the theft of one vehicle and Burglary to a multitude of other vehicles in the Borough. The one constant with the above crimes is: all the vehicles were unlocked. The Upper Saddle River Police Department will be utilizing social media, Twitter and Facebook, reminding residents to check doors and windows of their homes, close garage doors, remove all valuables from vehicles and keep vehicles locked when unattended at 9 P.M. every evening. We are a community, let’s work together to keep the Borough of Upper Saddle River safe.