Send water concerns to Campbell

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:55

    To the Editor: As many West Milford residents are interested in the legal situation regarding Hovnanian's proposed Eagle Ridge town houses, I have put in the township library (next to town hall) two copies of DEP Commissioner Bradley Campbell's statement denying the well water permit for that tract. Thus, anyone can come to read it or to xerox their own copy on the library's machine. Commissioner Campbell acted courageously to do the right thing in protecting the ground water supply for West Milford's residents, especially those neighboring the Eagle Ridge tract. However, there is still a long road ahead, as Hovnanian will likely be returning to the NJ State Appeals court to challenge Campbell's decision. Campbell based his 12 page statement primarily on two factors. First, he considered Skyland CLEAN's hydrogeologist Peter Demicco's research showing that, although Hovnanian's wells pumped out at about 130 gallons per minute, they only recovered at about 1/ 2 gallon per minute. Thus, in a relatively short time, the Eagle Ridge wells would likely drain the surrounding aquifer, then run dry and also leave neighboring residents without ground water. Second, Campbell specified "the residents' concerns." Indeed, with the current drought, many of Eagle Ridge's residential neighbors have had partial or full well water outages this summer. I felt that Campbell's legal statement was extremely well written, both in terms of the statutory and case law cited to support his arguments, and also in terms of the logical reasoning, specifying caution when hundreds of existing residents could be deprived of water if Eagle Ridge were developed. It would be nice, and perhaps useful in the long run, if West Milford residents would write a brief note to thank Bradley Campbell. As many of us wrote to ask him to help us out, it would be a good idea to thank him for his support of our situation. You could write to him at 401 State St., P.O. Box 402, 7th floor, Trenton NJ, 08625-402. With the current drought following only a couple years after the past three-year drought, the available ground water supply is very low. Experts have told me that it could take six or more years for us to recover from the three-year drought because our clay soils don't permit much water to be absorbed, and the large amount of very dense granite and gneiss rock are not very porous and are poorly fissured. With our currently parched ground, any rain that we might get will heavily end up as "run-off" into the streams, lakes and reservoirs, rather than replenishing our underground aquifer. If you, or your West Milford friends or neighbors have had water problems this summer, or during the past five years, it would be important for Campbell to hear from you in that regard, so that he would have some clear support for his legal decision being based on "the residents' concerns." Doris Aaronson West Milford