On a normal day, Verona’s sewer plant processes about 4 million gallons of wastewater. On Saturday, August 11, the torrential rainfall sent 42 million gallons through the plant.
Verona Township Manager Matt Cavallo has spent three days tallying up the damage caused to municipal facilities by the flash flood, which also caused losses at many homes and businesses. Cavallo has found that, in addition to the heavy runoff into Verona’s storm sewers, the Peckman River did overflow its banks and spill into the sewage plant, which is located off Ozone Avenue. Cavallo said that there was “considerable” damage to equipment at the sewer plant, although it has continued to operate. The town does not yet know how much it will cost to repair the sewer plant damage, Cavallo said.
The Public Works garage, which is close to the sewer plant, got six inches of river water and sewage inside. A cleanup is in process there, and no vehicles were damaged. A cleanup is also in process at Firehouse #2, across from Everett Field, where stormwater and sewage filled the basement. The Verona Community Center’s ballroom will need new carpeting after water cascaded in through the back door.
The Verona Pool, which is adjacent to the giant construction site at the former Essex County Hospital Center, wound up with only a small amount of mud in the locker rooms, which was cleaned up immediately, Cavallo said. The Verona Library’s basement, which has sustained damage in previous heavy rainstorms, came through this storm with the extensive renovation work unscathed.
The ferocity of the storm could bring other changes in town. Cavallo said that while there hasn’t been any discussion of changing Verona’s stormwater regulations yet, “I expect that this will be the beginning.”