On Monday, October 29, Superstorm Sandy devastated the entire Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission facility. This event inundated PVSC's Newark Bay Treatment Plant with over 200 million gallons of tidal surge that flooded our underground tunnels and galleries alone. Approximately fifty PVSC employees were working that evening to ensure that treatment was uninterrupted and were also present to facilitate an emergency power shut down if needed. As the storm approached their work ensured that we suffered less minimal damage, but none the less, when power was lost, our facility was taken off line. Thankfully none of the PVSC staff were injured although many will surely remember the entire plant being engulfed in the tidal surge that surrounded and soon after enveloped our plant. Shortly after the storm abated, PVSC immediately began the process of bringing operations back on-line. Many of the workforces returned the next day eager to assist in our recovery efforts.
PVSC's recovery energies were bolstered by the arrival of local, county, state and federal assistance including the Army Corps of Engineers, the Federal Environmental Protection Agency, and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. In addition to round the clock efforts of PVSC employees, the aid and support of these partners were invaluable in bringing the plant back to primary treatment in less than a week.
PVSC has redoubled its efforts in the past few weeks to return to normal operations and has reached many milestones in this effort well in advance of original estimates. While much work remains, the PVSC will dedicate the time, manpower, and resources needed to complete the restoration process as soon as possible, learn from this event, and make the plant less susceptible to similar future storms. The combined efforts of PVSC's dedicated employees and its federal, state, and local partners will help PVSC retain its place as one of the leading wastewater treatment facilities in the country.