(Newark, NJ) Since the creation of the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission’s (PVSC) award-winning River Restoration Program in 1998, the agency has removed more than 12,000 tons of debris from Newark Bay, the Passaic River and its tributaries, including countless fallen trees, branches and stumps.
There are typically two ways that trees wind up in the Passaic River. Many simply lose their rooting and topple over into the river. Others are illegally dumped into the river. Either way, they significantly affect the flow of the river and exacerbate the potential flooding threat. Trees in the river act like a trap, catching loose branches and the various forms of debris that the current carries.
PVSC actively looks for ways to recycle the wood from trees removed from the river into something with a practical use. This past week, PVSC donated two large, fallen trees to High Tech High School in North Bergen. PVSC’s River Restoration Program removed both trees from the river after discovering them floating above the Great Falls in Paterson on Earth Day earlier this year.
“They both appear to be about 100 years old,” said Zach Bolich, High Tech’s Wood Technology instructor. “We are really thankful that PVSC took the time to donate and deliver these trees to us. The trees will be used by our students for a variety of woodworking projects.”
High Tech’s Wood Technology Program is one of the top wood processing programs in the country. The school provides its students with a comprehensive woodworking curriculum. Students take wood from fallen trees and repurpose them into furniture, cabinets, table tops, cutting boards and more. Bolich and Sergio Gamarra, the Engineering Technology instructor, oversee the projects.
Citing old chain saw marks on the trees, Brian Davenport, PVSC’s Superintendent of River Restoration and Facilities, noted that the trees were “probably dumped into the river.”
“Dead trees rotting in the river are a considerable nuisance,” adds PVSC Executive Director Greg Tramontozzi. “It is our job to remove these trees from the river. At the same time, we are very conscious about where the trees wind up. Our goal is to recycle them. It’s nice to know that students at High Tech are turning these trees into practical items that can be used in a variety of ways.”