Protecting Our Environment

Protecting Our Environment

River Restoration

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 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. A new, state-of-the-art, Aquarius System Trash Hunter-34 Skimmer Vessel was launched into Newark Bay by the PVSC in the spring of 2018. Together, our two Skimmer Vessels are being used by the agency’s River Restoration Program to remove floating trash and debris from the lower Passaic River, its tributaries and Newark Bay.

PVSC also 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.

One of PVSC’s signature efforts on the Passaic River consists of at least two cleanups per year of the Great Falls in Paterson. This requires diverting the flow of the river through an adjacent hydroelectric plant, so debris that has accumulated in the rocks above the falls can be safely removed.

Another one of PVSC's signature efforts on the Passaic River includes the creating the Lower Passaic River Blueway Canoe and Kayak Trail system (in 2016) and the subsequent maintenance of its 20 public access and launch points. The Blueway spans the entire 32-mile Lower Passaic River. It begins at Two Bridges Road on the border of Lincoln Park and Wayne and ends at Kearny Point, where the Passaic River and the Hackensack River both empty into the mouth of Newark Bay.

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 14,000 tons of debris from the Newark Bay, the Passaic River and its tributaries, and sponsored nearly 1,300 individual clean ups along shorelines and in communities.