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O'Toole Returns to Ridgewood to Measure Progress of Flood-Related Efforts

District 40 senator on Tuesday will be visiting Ridgewood's Burnside Place, an area heavily damaged by flooding in Hurricane Irene.

Nearly a year after he visited the heavily scarred areas surrounding the Ho-Ho-Kus Brook in Ridgewood, State Sen. Kevin O'Toole (R-40) will be returning Tuesday to observe the progress of flood mitigation efforts.

At 4 p.m., the senator will be at the Burnside Place residence of Leslie Cimino, whose home was inundated with nearly five feet of water after last year's devastating Hurricane Irene.

Local officials sought the assistance of O'Toole last year in helping remove the bureaucratic roadblocks to clear the craggy, sandbar-filled Saddle River and Ho-Ho-Kus Brook. O'Toole also pushed for an action plan to reduce the damage of flooding, the status of which he'll be evaluating Tuesday.

With some help from O'Toole in receiving DEP permits this spring, work recently began to remove sandbars along both bodies of water.

But it's not all smooth sailing.

The village council in July . The lowest received qualified bid was $120,000 more than what was dedicated to the project, so it's possible the work performed will not as great in scope as officials had initially hoped.

"What we will have to do is very carefully is monitor the length of the Ho-Ho-Kus Brook and the Saddle River work zones that we've identified so that none get slighted," Village Engineer Chris Rutishauser said in July. "In some areas we may have to reduce some of the volume of debris removed to reduce the costs to meet the award."

According to Rutishauser, spare turning the bottom of the waterways into concrete and a major effort to stop blacktopping the earth with development, flooding is here to stay.

Still, O'Toole says steps must be taken to help residents who have lost possessions and significant money due to flood waters.

"We cannot have a repeat of Hurricane Irene," the senator said in a news release Monday. "Whatever we can do on the state level to assist in diminishing the affects of flooding on our residents, I will make sure gets done."

Have a question or news tip? Contact editor James Kleimann at James.Kleimann@patch.com, or find us on Facebook and Twitter. For news straight to your inbox every morning, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Scott Selders October 02, 2012 at 03:37 PM
Yesterday, and today-Town workers have been working on the Dunham Trail-and the Ho Ho kus Brook-that runs along side the trail. They are cleaning up downed trees, and branch's in the Brook, and along the trail. They have been making big piles of the debris-then wood chipping it. They have have also taken down a few dead trees. As someone who goes on this trail, it is amazing to see. As I type I can hear the sound of the Chipper. I don't know when this was last done, but I know it has been a long time.
Boyd A. Loving October 03, 2012 at 03:21 AM
The workers are actually employees of Rock Solid Construction, Inc. of Newark. The Village Council awarded Rock Solid a contract for performing rehabilitation work on the Ho-Ho-Kus Brook.

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