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Can the next Sandy be stopped?

By Michael Copley, The Record (Hackensack, N.J.) Published: January 12, 2013

“If you envision this whole area like a bathtub, no matter how much anybody raises one particular area, everything has to be raised at the same elevation, because otherwise, the water's going to pour in at the lowest point,” she said. “That's the unfortunate reality of this area.

”We're hoping that this is a once-in-a-750-year experience,“ Karrow added. ”This is the reality of all the low points . and those berms were not built to protect anybody from water; they were built for mosquito control.“

Marturano said, ”Even if we were to build all these berms, the problem is we've got roads that are low - it would just come over the roads. The water will just come in through wherever the weak point is. It'll come in slower perhaps because you've narrowed it down, but it will come in with more velocity.“

At a meeting in early December, mayors in the Meadowlands District called on the commission to assist communities in flood planning. Karrow responded that the commission has ”no statutory authority to do flood control.“ On Friday she said that remains the case.

”I don't know what was done in the past with my predecessor or predecessors, but since I've gotten there, flood control has not been something we've done, and we have not had a budget for it,“ Karrow told the mayors in December. She added, though, that ”any engineering help that any town needs or wants, we are happy to assist all of you with.“

The commission has not received information detailing damage estimates for the district's 14 towns.

On Friday, Karrow said the Federal Emergency Management Agency has set up a ”project wish list“ for future flood mitigation programs.

Karrow said the commission is helping to coordinate with the towns for FEMA money, but reiterated that the state has not given the commission authority for flood planning. Karrow said projects approved for the FEMA ”wish list“ require a 25 percent local match.

MCT Information Services

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