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Photos by Fritz Rethage    April 30, 2004    All Rights Reserved


Great Falls
Paterson, New Jersey

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Turning the tide to clear the river

Willam DePillo, head operator of the Great Falls Hydroelectric Station (the City of Paterson owned Algonquin LTD), said there has never been a falls cleanup of this magnitude.

DiPillo who organizes a cleanup on the banks around the Great Falls every Arbor Day said he wants to shut off the falls to get the trash and debris out of the riverbed.   DiPillo said he got the idea to dry up the falls in October, when he dropped the river's level about a foot to test the strength of the dam, which was built in 1840. The last time the falls ran completely dry was when the hydroelectric plant was first opened in 1914

The falls won't literally run dry but the goal is to lower the water level by 27 inches, to the top of the 13-foot dam that routes water through the hydroelectric station. The hydroelectric station will have two of its three turbines activated and producing electricity. Trout, bass, pike, catfish, carp, and eels will be diverted through a fish bypass next to the mouth of the hydroelectric plant.

On Friday, April 30, 2004, a massive cleanup was scheduled at the falls with more than 200 volunteers,  from Paterson public schools and local businesses, will do the hard labor of lugging the junk up from the sides and the bottom of the river.

As DiPillo plunged big wooden flashboards into the water to heightening the dam and diverting the river through the station to run the falls dry,  branches of fallen trees, tires, etc.  began to poke through the surface of the water on the far bank.

Robert DeVita, River Restoration Project manager for the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission,  brought a crew of a dozen men  to work with axes and chain saws and hack through the dead wood that cluttered the riverbanks. They used pulleys fastened to trees to pull bundles of dead branches out of the water. Other workers dredged the river muck and the water's surface with rakes, sifting up plastic cups and bottles, beer and soda cans, plastic milk jugs and bags and packaging and potato chip bags.

The workers chucked the garbage and big hunks of wood into bins donated by JK Carting, a garbage disposal company in Paterson. They fed the twigs and sticks into a wood-chipping machine.

Source: Herald News, Thursday, April 27, 2004
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Passaic County Sheriffs Department

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Some of the workers from the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission

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Paterson Great Falls
[Great Falls Background] [General Photos] [Arbor Day 2004]
[Tour around top of Great Falls] [Tour of Hydroelectric plant]
[Frozen Great Falls 2004]

Paterson Great Falls Movies
Paterson Great Falls: 500k [Close] [Medium] [Long] [River]
Dam at the top 600k    Crest of Great Falls Major 700k
Frozen in 2004  Great Falls-Major 900k       Great Falls-Minor 400k

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Passaic River
   Background info [Passaic River/Dundee Dam]
Photos: Frozen Dundee Lake & Passaic River      Panoramic at Dundee Dam

Passaic River Movies
Dundee Dam: 500k [Top] [Flow] [River]
Frozen in 2004 Panoramic at Dundee Dam 2 meg
      Dundee Dam 300k


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Other Contacts

New Jersey Department of Enviromental Protection
Watershed Management Area 4   PDF of work in Area 4
American Rivers
American Rivers, 202-347-7550
Paterson Great Falls
www.passaicriver.com
www.waterfallsguide.com
Hackensack Riverkeeper, 201-692-8440,  www.hackensackriverkeeper.org 
NY/NJ Baykeeper, 732-291-0176,  www.nynjbaykeeper.org 
New Jersey Audubon Society, 908-766-5787, http://www.njaudubon.org/ 


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www.patersonhistory.com
www.rt23.com/history/Paterson_NJ-silk_city.shtml
www.passaiccountynj.org
City of Paterson
Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission
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