Fairfield residents continue cleanup following massive December flooding

Many front lawns in Fairfield were filled with trash on Tuesday as residents get ready for trash day.

Naomi Yané

Jan 3, 2024, 1:42 AM

Updated 161 days ago

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Cleanup continues for New Jersey residents whose homes were severely flooded last month during heavy rainfall and river cresting.
Many front lawns in Fairfield were filled with trash on Tuesday as residents get ready for trash day. But to many residents, the items on the lawn are not just trash – they are memories.
“This is the worst it’s been. We didn’t expect it to be like this,” says Debra Goggins.
Goggins has lived in this house in Fairfield for over 40 years. She says she’s used to the severe flooding due to the Passaic River being right in her backyard. Her home was raised in 2008 and she says she hasn’t had an issue with flooding until last month when heavy rain fell, and the river crested high than usual.
“I was just hoping it didn’t get to the point where it would get in the house, so we didn’t leave. We were here the entire time, so it was just a matter of watching for the water,” Goggins says.
But Goggins’ home, like many others, wasn’t spared from the flooding. Now she’s left cleaning up and dealing with insurance claims. With an impending storm this upcoming weekend, people in this community are hoping for snow instead of more rain like they saw just weeks ago.
“Once it went down on [Dec. 23] …then it rains again on Wednesday and Thursday and it came back up,” Goggins says. “When you started to cleanup, you’re starting all over from scratch again. It’s just a lot.”
Some of the properties where Goggins lives are now part of the Green Acres program because it’s a flood-prone area.
Bulk trash pickup starts Wednesday. This is an addition to the normal bulk pickup days, to help folks clear out items damaged by floods.
Fairfield wasn’t the only neighborhood to experience severe flooding. Wayne, Little Falls and Paterson also saw flood damage.


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