The loan was part of a 1.28 billion funding bill for “waste and drinking water infrastructure projects” approved yesterday by Gov. Chris Christie. The loan will come from the New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Trust.
The city’s first flood pump, finished in early 2012, drains the city’s southwest. The second will help drain the northwestern neighborhood around ShopRite. The low elevation of Hoboken’s western edge, once a tidal marsh zone, makes it prone to flooding after both rain and storm surges.
“We expect the new H-5 WWPS to operate as effectively and efficiently as the Authority’s H-1 WWPS that has significantly alleviated flooding in the southwestern sections of the City,” said Dr. Richard J. Wolff, Executive Director of the North Hudson Sewerage Authority.
The pump will be designed, built, and operated by the North Hudson Sewerage Authority in conjunction with the city.
“We are very pleased that our application for this critical flood pump was approved by the State,” said Mayor Dawn Zimmer. “The latest National Climate Assessment confirms what we have all been experiencing first-hand—heavy rain events in the Northeast have increased more than 70% in the last 50 years, and when those downpours occur near high tide, we flood.”
The city will go out to bid for contractors in the fall if all the necessary paperwork is approved. Construction is expected to take around two years.
Increasing Hoboken’s pump capacity is part of the comprehensive “Resist, Delay, Store, Discharge” flood prevention plan for the Lower Hudson developed for the Rebuild by Design competition. The project was one of the winners of the federally sponsored contest, earning a $230 million grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The money has not yet been disbursed to the state of New Jersey. Last month, Mayor Zimmer said either the pump or a new southwest park with water retention features would be the first infrastructure project called for in the plan to be completed.
The new state loan will also cover a pilot project demonstrating ways the city can be redesigned to absorb more water (the city surface is currently 94 percent impervious to rainwater). City Hall will be retrofitted with community gardens, porous pavers, shade tree pits, a large cistern and other elements designed to absorb water before it reaches the sewer system. The city hopes the new features can collect an average of 13,122 gallons of rainfall per month and reduce the amount of stormwater entering the sewers through City Hall by half.