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Raging Rivers Rise As New Jersey Residents Face More Flooding Woes

LITTLE FALLS, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- It may sound like a broken record to say it once again, but it was another miserable day for swamped residents in New Jersey. It's the second major flood in just two weeks.

The situation has become bitterly familiar along the swollen Passaic River: More rain, and more flooding. As the river started pouring into his Little Falls neighborhood, Stan Krawiecki put his dog in the car and rushed out.

1010 WINS' John Montone reports: Rain, Flooding Slams Parts Of New Jersey


"I'm hitting the road. This is the closest I've ever been to the flood waters as they're rising. Too bad they didn't start cleaning up a few days earlier, there's going to be a lot of debris floating around," Krawiecki said.

The water was also rising so fast that Brian Stone was only able to flee on a bike.

"I thought I had more time, but it's coming up real quick and my car's back there -- it's gone," he said.

Stone said his home was destroyed by Hurricane Irene.  He said the only thing he could do was "just move on."

It has been hard for so many in Little Falls, whose homes are so ravaged that they can't live in them. Adding insult to injury, now their trashed belongings are floating in the water.

"We're worried about whether the garbage men are going to be able to pick up in time so it doesn't wash into other people's homes and all the hard work that they just did," Sandra Prell said.

That's why public works employees have been trying to pick up the debris quickly.


Once again, officials are urging residents to not drive through standing water - cars were again getting swamped after driving through water that is surprisingly deep.

A limousine driver named Chris told 1010 WINS' John Montone how treacherous driving in Carlstadt could be.

"It's surprising. You'd be driving and all of the sudden you'd hit a lake," he said.

Water along the road from the rising Passaic River near the bridge from Wayne to Lincoln Park along Route 202 was said to have risen to two feet.

WCBS 880's Sean Adams With Stressed Out Residents In Lincoln Park


Route 21 southbound from Route 3 into Newark was completely blocked off early Thursday. The Passaic River is already more than a foot above flood stage, the National Weather Service said. It may rise several more feet by Saturday.

Many neighborhoods still haven't dried out since Irene roared through last week. The remnants of Tropical Storm Lee is responsible for the most recent round of rain, however.


Fairfield This Sucks
A lawn in Fairfield, NJ - Sep 8, 2011 (credit: Marla Diamond / WCBS 880)

The homemade sign at the entrance to Mike Rolfes' Fairfield neighborhood reads "Welcome to hell."

WCBS 880's Marla Diamond In Fairfield


"We're just beginning to dry up a little bit, and we understand it's coming back. You know, the river is beginning to crest, not much lower than what it peaked out at the other day. So, that's definitely got everybody worried," he said.

A fleet of garbage trucks has been dispatched to collect up the massive piles of household items destroyed by Irene.

"People want something done with this river. And you know what, I'm from Holland. So, if anybody knows about fighting water, it's us, and it can be done," he told WCBS 880 reporter Marla Diamond.

1010 WINS' Steve Sandberg reports: Families In Wayne Leaving Homes Ahead Of More Flooding


Flooding Bridgewater
Flooding - Bridgewater, NJ - Sep 8, 2011 (credit: Levon Putney / WCBS 880)


WCBS 880's Levon Putney In Bridgewater


The EPA wants to push flood water from the American Cyanamid Superfund site in Bridgewater into a brook to resume cleanup efforts.

"They're potentially exposing the families in Bound Brook and people that live downstream on the Raritan River to a flood of toxic waste," said environmentalist Bob Spiegel with Edison Wetlands wants the floodwaters cleaned first.

"It's just all a matter of money," he told WCBS 880 reporter Levon Putney.

"Well, EPA doesn't believe that a mobile treatment plant is appropriate under these circumstances," said spokesperson Mary Mears.

She says it would only clean a million gallons a day.

"And in this case, we are talking about 200 million gallons of floodwater," she said.

Still, they are hoping to get the flood waters out as soon as possible to continue treating the groundwater on the Superfund site, which is highly contaminated.

How are you doing when it comes to getting back to normal after Irene? Share your story in the comments section below.

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