Ridgefield Park: The Future of our Waterways is in Your Hands

Did you know that the Village of Ridgefield Park, like many older urban areas, has a Combined Sewer System (CSS) that discharges into local waters during heavy rainfall?

The Village of Ridgefield Park has six combined sewer outfalls. Four of these outfalls discharge to the Hackensack River, which is classified as Saline Estuary (SE1) waters. Two outfalls discharge to the Overpeck Creek, which is classified as Saline Estuary (SE2) waters. The designated uses for SE1 waters are primary and secondary contact recreation, and for SE2 waters are secondary contact recreation.

 Excess combined sewage and storm water drains to river through outfall pipe

Combined Sewer Systems are typically located in older urban areas and were constructed to provide for the transportation of sanitary sewage, industrial discharges and stormwater within the same pipe. The combined sewer systems in these municipalities were designed to transport all sewage flows and some wet weather flows for treatment at the Bergen County Utilites Authority Water Pollution Control Facilities in Little Ferry. The system was also designed to discharge excess flows from the Combined Sewer System owned and operated by these municipalities as a Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) discharge into the adjacent waterways. The transport and treatment systems owned and operated by the BCUA have limited capacity and if CSSs were not permitted to overflow, the community would flood. 

What can you do to help? SLOW the FLOW

As a community and as an individual you can help reduce the amount of water that enters the Combined Sewer System during wet weather events but this will take a shift in thinking. In the past, homeowners treated stormwater as something that should be diverted off their property as quickly as possible. The result would be flows in the combined sewer system that would exceed the treatment plant’s capacity.

By taking a few simple and inexpensive steps, you can hold some of the rainwater on your property during the storm. The water you retain can be used on your property for watering plants or released to the sewer system gradually during dry weather.

Bergen County Utilities Authority offers a Rain Barrel Incentive Program as well as other tips for reducing the impact of rain water on the combined sewer system.

In addition, the Department of Environmental Protection offers information about Green Infrastructure that you can install when making modifications to your property.

Ridgefield Park’s Green Team also provides education on things that you can do to reduce your impact on the waterways.

For More Information See these Important Links