Nutley residents concerned about tar & other chemicals washed onto their properties during Ida

Flooding from the remnants of Ida devastated towns across New Jersey. Some residents of Nutley say that the town actually made the problems worse.

News 12 Staff

Sep 30, 2021, 2:30 AM

Updated 934 days ago

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Flooding from the remnants of Ida devastated towns across New Jersey. Some residents of Nutley say that the town actually made the problems worse because floodwaters carried chemicals from the nearby Department of Public Works onto their properties.
Some residents say that the town does not seem too worried about making the situation right.
Mayor Mauro Tucci admits that gas, oil and tar came through one neighborhood. One month later, some of it still remains.
“All we saw was a big woosh of water just coming through,” says Noura Estrada.
The “woosh” was water coming through the fence from the DPW yard behind her home. She says she is now concerned about what that water brought with it.
“We saw black things, almost like gunk, all over our skin. And then when I started smearing it around my fingers, that’s when he said, ‘No, this is tar,’” Estrada says.
Tar is still on the Estradas’ fence and around the neighborhood, even though the town sent cleanup crews.
Estrada says that the crew wanted her to sign off that the job was done. But after seeing tar and oil in the floodwater, she says that she is not sure if the yard is safe for her kids. And she is not getting any answers.
“Because I’ve called the mayor’s office several times and tried to reach out to the commissioner of Public Works several times, and it’s always, ‘I’ll get back to you,’” Estrada says.
Neighbor Jason Brown says that he is also dealing with issues from the flooding. His basement walls are still lined with signs of the same black gunk.
Mayor Tuccio says that some basements were cleaned, but not Brown’s.
"What bothers me is that no one came to our house to clean the basement, to clean whatever stain’s there,” says Brown.
For now, Brown’s wife and kids are staying somewhere else.
The Estrada family is also staying elsewhere. The DPW issues are only part of their story. They also do not have heat or hot water. The basement was ruined, and two cars were totaled.
“The American Dream turned into the American nightmare,” Estrada says.
New 12 New Jersey reached out to the state Department of Environmental Protection for comment but did not hear back.
The mayor says that another environmental company is in the process of assessing and he's prepared to take more steps to remediate.


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