In 1998, the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission created the Passaic River/Newark Bay Restoration Program. The program was designed to combat pollution as well as assist in flooding abatement within PVSC’s five county service area on Newark Bay, the Passaic River and its tributaries while promoting their recreational and economic uses. The program is comprised of three elements – volunteer shoreline clean-ups, skimmer vessel floatables removal, and community or municipality requested clean-ups. The volunteer shoreline clean-up element has been among the most successful programs of its kind in the nation. Beginning in 1998, PVSC began assisting volunteer groups including public and private schools, Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops and community organizations in conducting shoreline clean-ups to remove litter and debris from along waterways within its service area by providing all necessary clean-up supplies including debris removal. In 1999, PVSC added floatables removal to the program using grant monies to purchase a 50-foot surface skimmer vessel. Christened the S.V. Newark Bay, this vessel embarks on daily patrols on the Newark Bay and Passaic River, removing floating debris and litter. PVSC is currently working on securing funding for a second 50-foot skimmer vessel to double our collection capacity. Finally, PVSC conducts community requested clean-ups in response to community or municipal requests for assistance. These projects require the specialized equipment, experience and resources of PVSC’s River Restoration crew that community groups or municipalities may not possess.
Since the creation of the PVSC’s River Restoration Program in 1998, which is charged with preserving and protecting over 100 miles of area waterways, the PVSC has removed over 11,620.29 tons of debris from the Newark Bay, the Passaic River and its tributaries, and sponsored over 1,085 individual clean ups along shorelines and in communities.