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Paterson’s Great Falls Diverted For Cleanup Work

The Great Falls is seen from Chopper 880 - Paterson, NJ (file / credit: Tom Kaminski / WCBS 880)

The Great Falls is seen from Chopper 880 – Paterson, NJ (file / credit: Tom Kaminski / WCBS 880)

levon_feature Levon Putney
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PATERSON, NJ (AP/CBSNewYork) - Don’t blame the heat for drying up New Jersey’s Great Falls.

Officials Thursday diverted water from the 77-foot waterfall in Paterson so volunteers could clean the riverbed just above the falls.

About 20 New Jersey Youth Corps student volunteers were working on the cleanup in the scorching heat.

“Metal, wood, bottles, glass,” said volunteer Angela Torres on Thursday. Even a lawn chair was found.

“Yesterday, we began shutting down the river by diverting it to clean up the debris that’s in the riverbed,” said Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission executive director Wayne Forrest. “We’re proud of them. They should be proud of themselves. They’ve come out here.”

WCBS 880′s Levon Putney At The Falls

“I usually stay home [when it's] hot like this, but it’s worth it,” said Torres.

The Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission says the cleanups are routine and well over 30 tons of debris were removed in the past.

The falls once provided power to run factories that produced silk, locomotives and firearms and helped turn Paterson into a major manufacturing center.

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)