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Tempers Rise With Floodwaters As Hoboken Residents Demand Solution To Sewage Problem

Mayor Dawn Zimmer Says The Fix Comes With A High Price Tag

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HOBOKEN, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — It is becoming the land of frequent flooding and, after another round of rain this week, some Hoboken residents have had enough.

“I’ve so, like, had it. Born and raised here and I’m ready to move,” lifelong Hoboken resident Debbie Veloce told CBS 2’s Vanessa Murdock on Thursday.

In 2012, Hurricane Sandy filled the streets and basements of Hoboken with water. That was followed by a slew of water-main breaks, and, finally, a series of flash floods this week brought on by heavy rain, that left many residents pumping out their homes once again.

“We have enough water in Hoboken. We don’t need anymore,” Rafael Hirujo said.

Veloce told CBS 2 that she thinks the problem is easily solvable.

“I’m not a rocket scientist, but clean out the drains. Then maybe with a little bit of rain it will work the way it should,” she said.

Twenty-four hours after the flood the smell of sewage still lingered Thursday, leaving some to question whether the sewer system is up to the task at all.

“They just collect your money for water and sewer and they don’t do anything to fix the old sewers,” said Glen Ridge resident Jackie Shapley.

Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer told CBS 2 that with tempers flaring over the frequent floods, the city is doing everything that it can to fix the sewers.

“Everything we can do to prevent the water from going down into the sewer system really helps,” she said, “I hear them, I know what they’re going through. I know this is extremely difficult.”

Zimmer said that the city has come up with a solution to help combat the flooding, and that she wants to have pumps installed at 5th, 11th, and 15th streets to clear water out during emergencies. The city is hoping that the federal government will foot the bill.

Installing those pumps could cost nearly one-third of Hoboken’s $100 million annual budget, and does not even represent a total solution. Berms, flood walls, and land buyouts will also be necessary to prevent further flooding, as will green roofs, rain barrels, and porous pavers that can help reduce the amount of runoff experienced during storms, officials said.

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