For years, Burlington County has had an issue with flooding of the Delaware River. Now to address the issue once and for all, Delran Mayor Ken Paris has partnered with 13 other townships to create the Coastal Communities Coalition.
The idea for the coalition started at the beginning of the year. Paris set out to address the problems that Delran had been facing and realized that if one township is having these issues, there are most likely others having the same issues.
“The river coalition is something that I put together to address the issues with flooding that we have had in the past along River Road,” said Paris. “Ever since Hurricane Sandy, we’ve had a lot of issues with the river flooding homes and drain-clogging issues.
“Delran tried addressing these issues about four or five years ago,” Paris continued. “We were studying it to pursue funding, but just as one small town it was difficult. I think we were seen as a small entity.”
According to Paris, since it was difficult to receive aid or funding as an individual town, addressing the flooding issues as a larger entity would allow the river coalition to achieve better results.
“The residents down by the river are constantly asking for a solution, and it’s really a problem we need to fix now,” said Paris. “It’s starting to become a major issue because of the houses down there, but also because multiple towns have major infrastructure near the river. Delran has its sewage treatment plant by the river, and right now it floods all around it.
“The goal of the river coalition is to identify the flooding issues within each town and seek out recommendations in order to solve these major issues,” Paris continued. “We’re looking for major issues that the towns have in common. For example, problems with seawall erosion or collapsing, stormwater management or flooding from the river backing up.”
Since the original meeting on March 27, the Coastal Communities Coalition has doubled in size. Starting with only six towns, the organization now has about 14 members. These townships include: Cinnaminson, Delran, Burlington City, Riverside, Riverton, Beverly, Willingboro, Delanco, Hainesport and Bordentown City.
The Coastal Communities Coalition is also waiting on resolutions from townships such as Florence, Palmyra and Lumberton, among a few others.
“At the first meeting with the original six towns, we had requested that anyone that wanted to be part of the coalition get a resolution passed by their council,” said Paris. “We only reached out to towns that were on the river, but since we have had towns reach out to us that weren’t originally contacted and have asked to join.
“I hope that we are successful,” Paris continued. “Right now we’re creating a summary of common issues and then we will have a meeting with elected officials. … We will also be contacting state and federal agencies such as the Department of Environmental Protection, the Army Corps and the United States Ecological Survey, among others.”