Anniversary of Superstorm Sandy

One year ago, the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission (PVSC) - like much of the state - felt first-hand the devastating force of Sandy.


When the storm hit on October 29, no one could have anticipated the impact it would have on PVSC. The sewerage plant - situated where the Passaic River meets Newark Bay - was flooded by millions of gallons of combined bay water, rain and wastewater. At one point, a 4-foot wall of water overwhelmed the plant, destroying buildings, flooding our underground substructure, washing away vehicles and short-circuiting automated systems, and demolishing critical equipment.


As a testament to the PVSC workforce, we immediately began the process of bringing operations back on-line once the storm abated. Many of the staff returned the next day, eager to assist in our recovery efforts. As a result, our facility was back up and online within days of this unprecedented natural disaster. PVSC's recovery was further bolstered by the arrival of local, county, state and federal assistance including the Army Corps of Engineers, the Federal Environmental Protection Agency, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.


During this past year, PVSC has made incredible strides restoring the plant and moving through the recovery phase with speed and precision. Since then, we have been completely dedicated to the process of returning to normal operations. I am proud of the progress we've made so far.


As we continue to recover, our focus is on a number of priorities and we have reached many milestones well in advance of original estimates:

  • To date, most PVSC functions are back on line. Although some major systems are still in need of repair, primary and secondary treatment were operational within days of the storm.
  • In January, we began accepting all municipal, industrial, and water sludge and our LWA operation is back to accepting all streams of waste.
  • PVSC has taken a leadership role in flood mitigation efforts planning with Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) the construction of permanent flood control measures.
  • Finally, as part of our Post-Sandy recovery efforts, PVSC has implemented a new temporary flood control barricade system (Muscle Wall) to ensure we are prepared for extreme weather events.

Last year proved to be a challenging, but pivotal year for PVSC; however I have full confidence that PVSC, working with our many partners, will be prepared to meet any further extreme weather challenges, as well as implement new strategies to ensure we never sustain the damage we did during this storm.

De-watering the Passaic Valley Waste Water Treatment Plant