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Resilience in the New Jersey Market
June 01, 2022

Iconic image after Hurricane Sandy - rollercoaster in the sea - with title text overlaid

Hurricane Sandy made landfall near Brigantine on October 29, 2012 as a large hurricane/post-tropical cyclone. The resulting tidal surge of water was impressive, as its effects were felt well north of the storm’s center, near the New York City lower bay and harbor. Coastal flood levels that were recorded in New Jersey included 4 to 9 feet in Monmouth and Middlesex Counties, and between 3 to 7 feet in Union and Hudson Counties. The Star Ledger had reported at the time that economic toll of the Hurricane would be approximately $30 billion in New Jersey. This resulted in a massive financial impact for many New Jersey households.

New Jersey took note…

As the State rebuilt from the storm, a Science and Technical Advisory Panel (STAP) on Sea-Level Rise and Coastal Storms was convened by Rutgers University. They have published two reports; one in 2016 and 2019. In their reports, the Panel provides insight to enhance resilience of the State’s places and assets to coastal storms, sea-level rise, and their resulting flood risk. Since New Jersey’s Land Use Resource Protection (LURP) program is a stakeholder, its regulations take guidance from STAP, in order to provide protection to its resources, so that the development community incorporates resilience in its design practices.

SESI continues to provide resilient design in accordance with Best Practices while keeping our client’s vision at the forefront. The following projects are examples of SESI’s unique approach while working closely with the NJDEP to successfully incorporate resilience.

Image of completed project, a self-storage facility, on the border of Nutley and Clifton


This recently constructed project included a three (3) story, 40,800-sf footprint area, self-storage facility on a 5-acre parcel that straddles the municipal borders of the City of Clifton and the Township of Nutley. A portion of the Third River’s floodplain is located along the rear of the property. This flooding is due to backwater effects from the River extending landward, into the property.

The project required a NJDEP Flood Hazard Area Permit to authorize the new building and stormwater management system. In addition, both City of Clifton and Township of Nutley’s land use approvals were required to construct the facility.

To address resilience concerns such as floor elevation above the floodplain, flood storage, and stormwater management functionality, the following elements were included in the project plans:
• An ADS HP Storm on-site underground detention system consisting of three (3) rows of sixty (60) inch diameter pipe, was installed. A Tideflex Checkmate valve was installed to ensure that backwater from the municipal storm system would not enter the on-site system and impact storage and outflow from it.
• The rear portion of the property was re-graded to provide additional on-site flood storage during storm events.
• The floor elevation of the self-storage building was set at three (3) feet above FEMA’s 100-year flood elevation across the property.

Rendering of Warehouse in Lyndhurst, New Jersey


This recently constructed redevelopment project included an 85,000-sf footprint warehouse facility on a 6-acre parcel on 210 Clay Avenue, in the Township of Lyndhurst. The property is located within the tidal floodplain of the Berry’s Creek. On-site flooding is due to backwater effects from the Creek, via a tributary that traverses the property’s southern boundary.

The project required a NJDEP Flood Hazard Area Permit to authorize the redevelopment. Previously, the site was home to a multi-story building and extensive, paved parking and driveway areas. There were old drainage pipes that conveyed runoff to various points along the tributary, but were damaged.

Since this property is located within the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority (NJSEA), this Agency conducted a rigorous review of the design plans.

To address resilience concerns brought up by the regulatory agencies such as floor elevation above the floodplain, truck ingress and egress during storm events, and stormwater management functionality, the following elements were included in the project plans:
• New drainage pipes were installed, along with CDS manufactured treatment devices (MTDs), and Tideflex checkmate valves, to ensure that treated runoff from the site would release in a controlled manner into the tributary, and that backwater would not flow back into the on-site pipes, affecting their flow capacities.
• The interior parking and driveway areas were regraded so they were at or above FEMA’s 100-year flood elevation.
• The floor elevation of the warehouse building was set at five and a half feet above FEMA’s 100-year flood elevation across the property.

As STAP continues to update resilience guidance to the development community, SESI will continue to incorporate this into our design plans while maintaining a clear understanding of our client’s objectives. This type of blended thinking will result in a successful, resilient, New Jersey market.


--Written by Anthony Castillo, PE 
SESI Consulting Engineers Principal


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