Flooding in Manville is nothing new as state and federal officials dragged their feet for 15 years

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MANVILLE, NJ – Flooding in Manville should come as no shock to anyone, not even New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy or President Joe Biden. Nearly 15 years ago, local officials began urging state and federal officials to take action. Then Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli called for a seawall to be built along the Millstone and Raritan River Basin to combat future flooding.

That was 2013. It’s now 2021 and nothing has been done since.

Between 2007 and 2013, Manville residents were ravaged by three major floods. Officials there had been waiting for more than five years for the remaining $3 million balance to complete a $7 million U.S. Army Corps of Engineer flood control study.

It’s not unheard of for the federal government to provide funding for a protective sea wall, both Mantoloking and Brick Township have received federal and state funding that helped those communities build a steel wall to prevent future flooding in the two Shore towns devastated by Super Storm Sandy.

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In 2013, Sen. Christopher “Kip” Bateman and Assembly Republican members Jack Ciattarelli and Donna Simon lauded the decision and said they hoped flood-prone Manville and its municipal neighbors along the Raritan-Millstone River Basin will benefit from similar federal Sandy relief funding.

“No doubt Mantoloking and Brick took direct hits from Sandy, and the proposed seawall is a sound solution that will provide needed protection. Although Manville was spared flooding from Sandy, homeowners there have been forced to abandon their homes four times in the past 12 years, due to severe flooding events,” said Bateman, R-Somerset, Hunterdon, Mercer and Middlesex. “It’s time for the government to step to the plate and provide the funding that was promised so that we can move forward towards a long-term solution.”

“The Mantoloking-Brick seawall is a flood mitigation project designed to protect Shore residents against future catastrophic storms,” said Ciattarelli, R-Somerset, Hunterdon, Mercer and Middlesex. “Residents of Manville and the entire Raritan-Millstone Rivers basin deserve no less – they need relief and real solutions.”

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“Because completion of the Manville Army Corp of Engineers flood control study is long overdue, we continue our fervent advocacy to secure federal and state funding and solve the region’s flooding problems,” he continued.

Ciattarelli was never able to make it happen before he withdrew from office five years later. His bill never advanced and he quite literally never followed up on it.

“Manville residents have waited long enough for a resolution to the chronic flooding that plagues this area,” said Simon, R-Somerset, Hunterdon, Mercer and Middlesex. “We will continue the fight and be relentless in our efforts to obtain the funds we are due to mitigate this problem so that residents in the Lost Valley and other flood-prone communities no longer live in fear of the next storm.”

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Bateman, Ciattarelli and Simon said Sandy should serve as a catalyst for the passage of legislation (S-2080/A-3077) they sponsor that will create the Hunterdon-Somerset Flood Advisory Task Force.

The bill, which now has bipartisan support, would create a task force comprised of top state and local officials and experts in engineering, flood mitigation, public planning or environmental protection, including representatives from the state Department of Environmental Protection, local mayors, county emergency management and a member of the Millstone and Raritan Rivers Flood Control Commission.

That bill eventually died in the halls of Trenton. In February of 2020, it was resurrected, but once again died on life support as state legislators failed to move it, this time called the “Coastal Climate Change Commission”.