On October 12 a Rockland County jury found that the Lake DeForest Dam and the Lake Tappan Dam did not worsen flooding during a storm which occurred during April 15-16, 2007. During that storm, six to eight inches of rain fell in a 31 hour period.
Residents in flood prone areas near the Hackensack River in West Nyack, NY and River Vale, NJ contended that the dams worsened the flooding they experienced during the two day storm.
“We have great empathy for customers who had storm damage,” said Michael Pointing, vice president and general manager of the United Water New York division and Jim Glozzy, general manager of the United Water New Jersey division. “However, it was caused by unprecedented heavy rains over a significant period of time. In addition, the river system was full due to spring snow melt and 1½ -2 inches of rain which fell two days earlier. The 113 square mile watershed was fully saturated before the rain storm. After hearing all the evidence, the jury determined that the flooding was caused by a naturally occurring event.”
Pointing and Glozzy explained that the dams actually help reduce downstream flooding by retaining water in the reservoir. Without the dams to hold back water, the flow in the river would be significantly greater and so would the damage caused by flooding.
United Water operates its dams in accordance with procedures accepted by the New York Department of Environmental Conservation and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, in those respective states. The company’s highest priority is maintaining and operating its infrastructure in a manner which ensures the safety and integrity of the dams and the water supply.
United Water supplies drinking water for about one million people in Rockland County, New York and Bergen and Hudson counties in New Jersey.