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Flooding soaks several NJ communities

April 18, 2011 8:42:58 PM PDT
It's another day of watching flood waters rise along rivers in central and northern New Jersey Monday.

All eyes are watching just how much further the water will inch past its banks in Wayne.

"To have to go through it month after month, it's kind of hard on everyone," said Winnie Kievit, a Wayne resident.

Over in Pequannock, the water is finally receding, and residents are drying out.

It's the third time this year that they've been submerged.

Residents are demanding answers.

They want to know how three inches of rain can turn into five feet of flooding.

"Somebody is opening a flood gate somewhere because three inches of rain doesn't do this," said Jennifer Nemeth, a Pequannock resident.

The mayor says they can't keep mopping up like this so there are two long-term solutions on the horizon.

The first: The state has finally agreed to dredge the swollen river, but the problem is they've only committed $350,000 for the job.

"It's nothing as far as we're concerned, they need to put a lot of money into this project," Pequannock Mayor Richard Phelan said.

The mayor has also submitted a list of 130 low-lying homes along the river for FEMA to purchase.

That may seem like a ticket out, but the value of these homes is far less than homes on higher ground.

"They have to give you something in order to move somewhere else," said Dina Harper, a Pequannock resident.

The Passaic River in Little Falls began cresting around 10 p.m. on Monday.

In Saddle Brook, the mayor says her town has faced 50 years of frustration trying to get any real help from the state or federal government.

"It's come down to the point now, we want to hear what can be done, not what cannot be done," Mayor Karen Chamberlain said. "We have to stop hearing, 'There's no money.'"

People who've been forced out of their homes by this latest flooding are in shelters, hotels or with relatives. A few have stuck it out.

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