Murphy assesses flood damage in Little Falls, says opening flood gates can affect towns

Gov. Phil Murphy continued his tour Thursday in parts of North Jersey that have been impacted by flooding once again.
He surveyed flooding in Little Falls, where there is overflowing water from the nearby Passaic River. The area could see as much as 18 inches of water as the Passaic River was expected to crest around 7 p.m.
Little Falls Mayor James Damiano walked with Murphy, explaining that 98% of the township does not flood. He says many in the section next to the Passaic River have elevated their homes, which has helped in past and recent flooding events.
Ahead of Tuesday’s storm, several mayors in North Jersey asked New Jersey officials for the flood gates to be opened. The mayors’ requests were denied.
One of four pumping stations on the Passaic River in Little Falls. (Photo: Tony Caputo/News 12 New Jersey)
Murphy says the Department of Environmental Protection makes the call and decisions. He also says opening or closing dams can affect towns in different ways.
“They will tell you the science is on the side of actions that they’ve taken. That if they were to take contrary actions, it would have actually unintended consequences and worse results, which may be in different towns, so that’s the other issue you’ve got, one town versus another,” Murphy said. “We’re in touch with all of those mayors, and they make very compelling cases by the way, including the psychological case that the very fact you may open it would send a message to your residence that you’re going to be OK.”
Murphy visited Lodi on Wednesday, where residents continued cleanup efforts. For most of Wednesday into the evening, the streets of Lodi were hard to navigate due to flooding and many closed streets in the borough. State Police Superintendent Col. Patrick Callahan also surveyed the damage in the area and discussed short-term and long-term plans for flood mitigation.
The Red Cross opened a temporary shelter at 19 Warren St. in Little Falls and several other locations for anyone displaced from their home due to flooding.