In October 2011, the North Hudson Sewerage Authority dedicated its new wet weather pump station designed to alleviate street flooding in the southwestern sections of Hoboken. Since then the $18 million pump station, which is capable of pumping 50 million gallons per day of excess flow, has been put into operation 19 times, successfully preventing flooding in neighborhoods that were once routinely inundated.
Even after the severe rains on July 18 that dumped 4.13 inches of rain in two and a half hours, the streets of the southwestern neighborhoods were cleared within 45 minutes by the powerful pumps. To put this tremendous amount of rainfall in context, Hurricane Floyd dropped nine inches of rain but over the course of 24 hours. In fact, the recent storm’s intensity and duration classified it well beyond the “100 year” event curve, meaning that weather scientists expect a storm like July 18 to occur less than once a century.
The intense rainfall on July 18, compressed in a very brief time frame, resulted in some street flooding in the southwest simply because the Hoboken sewer lines were filled to capacity within minutes. Once rainwater filled the sewer lines, water started backing up onto the streets. Fortunately, the pumps on Observer Highway kicked in and were able to clear the lines and force the street water, which for a brief period of time rose to 8 to 10 inches in some southwestern areas, to recede within 45 minutes.
Dr. Richard J. Wolff, chairman of the NHSA, pointed out that the pump worked like it was supposed to.
“In meaningful ways, this brief storm was more intense than recent hurricanes which, before the pump station was operative, absolutely devastated Hoboken’s southwestern neighborhoods. We would have had water on those streets for a full day, not 45 minutes, if it weren’t for the wet weather pump station.”
The authority and the city are also seeking ways to address the flooding in neighborhoods other than the southwestern sections, analyzing data and reviewing plans to address these problem areas.
Specifically, the data will be used to try to solve problems in the midtown area of Monroe, Madison, and Jefferson Streets at the 9th through 11th Street intersections, as well as Jefferson, Adams and Grand Streets at the 14th to 16th Street intersections. At the authority’s request, the monitoring system currently in place which measures flow direction and levels within the interconnected Hoboken system will be expanded.
Based upon the data collected over the next six months, the authority’s engineers will determine a strategy to address the remaining flooding.