Hoboken is vulnerable to two interconnected types of flooding: coastal flooding from storm surge and high tide, as well as localized stormwater flooding from rainfall events. Coastal flooding, such as occurred during Hurricane Sandy, happens with much less frequency, but can devastate widespread areas of the City and cause significant economic damage and safety concerns. Stormwater flooding, such as occurred during Hurricane Irene and often occurs during heavy rain events, happens with much greater frequency.
Why Does Hoboken Flood?
Hoboken was once an island, with tidal lands to the west. Those wetlands were filled in the 20th century to facilitate development. The lowest area of the City is located in the southwest, which is less than three feet above sea level. The flooding problems for both coastal and stormwater flooding can be attributed to several factors, including this naturally low topography and proximity to the Hudson River; impervious ground coverage and stormwater runoff; existing sewer infrastructure and insufficient discharge capability, particularly during high tide.
The City of Hoboken relies on a 19th century combined sewer system for its stormwater management. This means that stormwater and wastewater drain into the same system, and flow to the wastewater treatment plant in northwest Hoboken.
Hoboken’s sewer system is overtaxed during rainfall events. If the combined sewage flow volume exceeds the limited treatment volume capacity (32-36 million gallons per day) of the wastewater treatment plant, a portion of this combined sewage overflows (CSOs) into the Hudson River through the various outfalls located along Hoboken’s waterfront. Several of these outfalls are located below the high tide level. When heavy rain coincides with a high tide in the Hudson River, excess stormwater cannot be discharged into the river. Stormwater flooding occurs when the combined sewer system is unable to outflow excess water into the Hudson River. This typically occurs when high volumes of stormwater are brought into the combined sewer system from rainfall events, which coincide with a high tide and/or storm surge. When this happens, the combined sewer system backs up into basements (though interior plumbing) and streets (through inlets and manholes), causing localized flooding in the lowest-lying areas.
Flooding can be exacerbated if rainfall occurs during high tide and during the daytime hours, when sanitary flows are highest. Heavy precipitation events are increasing. According to the 2014 National Climate Assessment, from 1958 to 2012, very heavy precipitation events increased by 71% in the Northeast. Hoboken’s vast impervious surfaces (e.g., rooftops, streets, sidewalks, parking lots) can also exacerbate flooding, by allowing surface water to runoff rapidly into on-street catch basins. Sea level rise is also predicted to escalate stormwater flooding, as high tides and storm surges are expected to block or obstruct the outfalls for increasingly longer periods of time.
The North Hudson Sewerage Authority (NHSA), which owns and operates Hoboken’s sewer infrastructure, has established a “Waterbody Advisory System” to alert the public when a dry or wet weather CSO event occurs at an NHSA discharge point into the Hudson. The system utilizes level sensors in the sewer system to monitor and report CSO incidents. This information is then posted in real-time. Click here for live monitoring of Hoboken’s outfalls.
While precipitation is the most common cause of flooding in the city, an important differentiation must be made between flooding due to minor or average storm events and flooding due to major storm events (e.g., Hurricane Sandy). According to the FEMA’s Preliminary Flood Insurance Study of Hudson County, New Jersey, coastal storm surges during hurricanes cause the most severe flooding in Hoboken. The duration of coastal surges can be increased if the storm also brings about high amounts of rainfall.
Coastal flooding can result from abnormally high tides that occur roughly twice a month (coinciding with full or new moons), or from storm surges brought on by coastal storms. Surge water is brought into the City from the Upper New York Bay, New York Bay and Kill Van Kull, where it is then driven by winds upriver along the Hackensack, Passaic and Hudson Rivers, eventually overflowing onto the shoreline communities.
Hurricanes Irene and Sandy were intense weather events resulting in different environmental outcomes. In 2011, Hurricane Irene brought a 5-foot storm surge to the Hudson River, flooding parts of Jersey City and Hoboken, along with 10 inches of rainfall. After the storm passed, flooding conditions remained because the vast amount of rainfall from the storm was draining through tributaries to the Hudson River, which was already swollen by the storm surge.
Hurricane Sandy produced less than 1 inch of rain, but generated a 13-foot storm surge which resulted in 8 feet of water entering the City from vulnerable points along the waterfront. The coastal surge can be further exacerbated if it coincides with a high tide. A situation like this occurred during Superstorm Sandy; the storm surge coincided with a full moon, which caused an abnormally high tide that was 20% above the normal high tide level. This factor significantly contributed to Sandy’s devastating flooding of the City.
The aftermath of both storms were lessened by respective environmental factors, such as no high tide for Hurricane Irene and the lack of heavy rain during Hurricane Sandy.
Sea level rise is predicted to increase the frequency and severity of coastal flood events. As sea level rises, so will high tide levels and the base flood elevations along the City’s coastline, overtopping the existing bulkheads, particularly during storm surges. Studies have shown that in the mid-1800s, there was a 1% annual chance of a bulkhead being overtopped by a storm surge within the New York Harbor area; today there is a 20 to 25% annual chance. Rising sea level also means that the sewer system outfalls and other critical infrastructure will be closer to mean sea level, and will be inundated more frequently during high tides. As the vertical distance between the elevation of the water and the elevation of the outflows decreases, less intense storm surge (which happen with greater frequency than stronger storms) will have the ability to inundate the outflows, thereby reducing the ability of the system to properly drain stormwater.
Know your Flood Hazard
Before Hurricane Sandy, FEMA had begun a coastal flood study to update Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) and Flood Insurance Study (FIS) reports for portions of coastal New York and New Jersey, using improved methods and data to better reflect coastal flood risk.
After Sandy, FEMA released Advisory Base Flood Elevation (ABFE) maps for certain communities based on the partially completed flood study which were designed to help in rebuilding and recovery efforts. Hoboken regulates development in the A (1% annual chance flood hazard), V (1% annual chance flood hazard + wave action), and X Shaded (0.2% annual flood hazard) areas on the adopted regulatory flood maps, which are the FEMA advisory base flood elevation (ABFE) maps whose effective date is February 22, 2013.
After the completion of the ABFE maps, FEMA released preliminary work maps and FIS reports for certain communities which include the full results of the coastal flood study. In 2015, FEMA released Preliminary FIRMs for Hudson County. The Preliminary FIRM Data Viewer allows users to view preliminary FIRM and FIS report data.
For your convenience, the City maintains a collection of flood insurance, flood risk reduction (hazard mitigation), resilient building design guidelines, and storm preparedness publications. These materials together with the ABFE Map and related information are available for review at the Zoning Office in City Hall, 94 Washington Street. Additionally, the Zoning Office will provide Flood Map Determinations to assist in locating a property’s flood hazard area.
What is the City doing about flooding?
The interrelationship between coastal flooding and rainfall events contributes to the recurring flooding conditions in the City of Hoboken. Each component represents challenges and will need to be addressed comprehensively in order to reduce our City’s flood risk.
Comprehensive Flood Protection
The following projects address stormwater and coastal flooding, as well as both city-wide and individual flood protection.
- REBUILD BY DESIGN. The Rebuild by Design – Hudson River Project, a comprehensive water management strategy that will protect Hoboken, Weehawken and northern Jersey City from flooding. The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) launched the Rebuild by Design (RBD) competition in the summer of 2013 to develop ideas to improve physical, ecological, economic, and social resilience in regions affected by Hurricane Sandy. The competition sought to promote innovation by developing flexible solutions that would increase regional resilience. The proposed project was one of the competition’s six winning concepts; it was developed with the goal of reducing frequent flooding due to storm surge, high tide, and heavy rainfall. HUD awarded $230 million to the State of New Jersey for Hudson River Project. The proposed project takes a multi-faceted approach intended to address flooding from both major storm surges and high tides as well as from heavy rainfall events. The project’s comprehensive approach to resilience consists of four integrated components:
- Resist: a combination of hard infrastructure (such as bulkheads, floodwalls and seawalls) and soft landscaping features (such as berms and/or levees which could be used as parks) that act as barriers along the coast during exceptionally high tide and/or storm surge events;
- Delay: policy recommendations, guidelines and urban green infrastructure to slow stormwater runoff;
- Store: green and grey infrastructure improvements, such as bioretention basins, swales, and green roofs, that slow down and capture stormwater, and which will complement the efforts of the City of Hoboken’s existing Green Infrastructure Strategic Plan; and
- Discharge: enhancements to Hoboken’s existing stormwater management system, including the identification and upgrading of existing stormwater/sewer lines, outfalls and pumping stations.
- POST SANDY RECOVERY PLAN. The City of Hoboken is the first New Jersey municipality to conduct a fully comprehensive evaluation of its plans and codes to ensure that its residents and first responders are safer, the City can perform continuous operations, that businesses can function without substantial interruption, and that neighborhoods suffer less property damage and emotional toll from flooding. The City received funding from the NJDCA Post Sandy Planning Grants program and self-authored a Strategic Recovery Planning Report, making City eligible for additional grant assistance. The Plan is being funded by DCA to realign codes, standards, and planning documents within the reality of a Post-Sandy world. The Plan is provides Hoboken with a suite of products to reduce future storm vulnerability, comprised of five components, and an executive summary that ties the 5 plan components together through the following cross referenced sections.
- Resilient Building Design Guidelines
- Codes, Ordinances and Standards
- Resilient Capital Improvement Plan
- Hazard Mitigation Plan
- Open Space, Recreation and Historic Preservation Plan
- RESILIENT BUILDING DESIGN GUIDELINES. The Resilient Building Design Guidelines provide residents, property and building owners, developers, and businesses within the floodplain with flood resilience standards and recommendations that reduce the likelihood of losing life or property due to a flood event. They are a manual on how to achieve resiliency for existing buildings, redevelopment and new construction. They provide best practices to protect against flooding, and a step-by-step process for approval in floodplain for rehabilitation, retrofitting commercial space, for substantial damage and substantial improvements, as well as for new construction. These guidelines also provide strategies for reducing flood insurance premiums. The Resilient Building Design Guidelines should be used by designers and builders as a guide for making post mitigation buildings relate well to one another while preserving connectivity with a pedestrian-friendly streetscape and enhancing the character of Hoboken’s neighborhoods.
- FLOODPROOFING CRITICAL FACILITIES. Dry and wet floodproofing projects are underway at three firehouses, the Midtown Garage, and Multi-service Center. The primary means of floodproofing include removable flood doors/walls, waterproofing of the exterior, and the installation of backflow preventers. The Hoboken Public Library is also mitigating future flooding by installing manually inserted flood barriers, waterproof coating to resist water penetration, sump pumps, and backflow preventers, as well as reconstructing the areaway and redirecting the rainwater leaders.
- FLOOD DAMAGE PREVENTION ORDINANCE. On December 18, 2013 the City Council approved ordinance Z-263 which amended chapter 104 of the city’s code for Flood Damage Prevention to reflect updates recommended by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s latest revised model ordinance.
- COMMUNITY RATING SYSTEM. The city already participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The city has submitted an application to the Federal Emergency Management Administration to participate in the Community Rating System (CRS) program. Communities participating in the CRS program may lower their residents’ flood insurance premiums by as much as 45%.
- GREEN BUILDING & ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY MASTER PLAN ELEMENT. Through the Planning Board and input from the public, the City is developing a sustainability plan (Green Building & Environmental Sustainability Plan Element of the Master Plan) that will provide guidance for stormwater management, utilities, infrastructure and other sustainability priorities.
Stormwater Flood Hazard Mitigation
The following projects specifically address stormwater flood mitigation, in an effort to reduce the strain on Hoboken’s combined sewer system during rainfall events.
- SOUTHWEST RESILIENCY PARK. The City acquired Block 12 in 2013 for the first phase of a Southwest Park designed with integrated flood resiliency features. The U.S. Department of Interior and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation awarded the City of Hoboken a $250,000 grant for the final design engineering of Block 12. A single city block bordered by Jackson Street, Harrison Street, Observer Highway and Paterson Avenue, this proposed park will feature passive recreational space, green infrastructure (rain gardens, shade tree pits, porous pavers, a cistern for rainwater harvesting and reuse) and an underground detention system to store 200,000 gallons of stormwater and reduce localized flooding from the 10-year storm event. This park will not only provide much-needed green space for the southwest neighborhood, but it will also serve as a first-of-its-kind model in the state for integrating green infrastructure into parks to reduce flooding. The City is in negotiations to acquire the adjacent Block 10 to expand the Southwest Park and the associated stormwater detention capacity in southwest Hoboken.
- 7TH AND JACKSON RESILIENCY PARK. In 2016, the City of Hoboken approved a series of resolutions and ordinances to authorize the redevelopment agreement for the 7th and Jackson project, which includes the community benefits of a new two acre park, public gymnasium, affordable housing, and flood resiliency measures. There will be more than 250,000 gallons of underground stormwater detention within the park and plaza to help address flooding issues in the area.
- NORTHWEST RESILIENCY PARK. Hoboken was one of 8 cities nationwide selected as a partner for the invest Initiative, an effort funded by the Rockefeller Foundation to help cities develop resilient urban stormwater infrastructure systems. In 2015, the RE.invest initiative published a feasibility study for the City of Hoboken, which focused on integrated flood management solutions to complement Rebuild by Design project. The RE.invest team sought to design a shovel-ready flood management project to help fulfill part of the “store” component of the Rebuild By Design strategy. The City identified a 6-acre former industrial site in the northwest portion of the City currently owned by BASF (between 12-13th and Madison-Adams Streets) for the RE.invest team to explore design and financing solutions for localized flooding challenges. The City has been engaged in ongoing negotiations with BASF since 2014 to purchase the site and received authorization from City Council to utilize eminent domain for acquisition of the site, as needed. The RE.invest team helped the City develop a multi-purpose strategy for the site based on three main site characteristics, including an underground parking garage with subsurface water storage and a surface park space with integrated green infrastructure on a 4-acre lot (Block 107, Lot 1). Subsequent analysis following the RE.invest study determined that the most feasible site layout would utilize the northern most parcel for an aboveground parking garage with an operations center for the Office of Emergency Management on the top floor, and green infrastructure measures on the roof. The middle and southern parcels would be utilized for approximately 1 million gallons of subsurface storage with a neighborhood park, now referred to as the Northwest Park. This water storage capacity was designed to accommodate a 10 year storm.
- GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE STRATEGIC PLAN. Hoboken was one of three recipients of a grant from Together North Jersey for technical assistance to develop a Green Infrastructure Strategic Plan, finalized in March 2014. The plan analyzes 10 types of green infrastructure best management practices for Hoboken’s context. It proposes a conceptual framework that organizes the City into three zones, based on the existing water carrying capacity of the underlying land forms and water table data which will have to be part of a follow-up study. The proposed zones are:
- The Gray Zone – contains a shallow depth to bedrock and therefore cannot infiltrate stormwater efficiently, is most appropriate for above-ground BMP’s such as rainwater harvesting and green roofs;
- The Green Zone – features a greater depth to bedrock and soils that are capable of accepting and infiltrating stormwater and as such is most appropriate for vegetated BMP’s like rain gardens, swales and stormwater trees;
- The Blue Zone – contains the lowest elevations in the City and therefore may be available for detention of stormwater, i.e. basins or ponds, constructed wetlands and subsurface storage.
It concludes with policy recommendations to advance green infrastructure implementation.
- CITY HALL STORMWATER PROJECT. In July 2013, Rutgers Center for Urban Environmental Sustainability (CUES) issued a concept plan proposing several design features to alleviate rainwater runoff at Hoboken City Hall. Funded by a low-interest loan from the New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Trust and completed in 2016, the project disconnected downspouts on City Hall and installed four cisterns storing 1,200 gallons each, two high-capacity rain gardens in the rear of City Hall, two lower-capacity rain gardens in the front of City Hall, a permeable pavement plaza in the rear of City Hall, and four shade trees. These improvements will keep 47% of rainfall runoff from the City Hall site from entering the combined sewer system.
- STREET TREES. The Shade Tree Commission completed a pilot program to expand tree pits and install new street trees along Washington Street between 1stStreet and 2ndStreet, setting standards for other property owners. The Commission will launch a program to encourage more property owners to install street trees, which play an important role in reducing stormwater runoff.
- RAIN GARDENS. In addition to applying for funding that would enable the City to create detention systems under newly purchased open space, the City is pursuing a variety of other green initiatives to address flooding. Hoboken was recently awarded a grant to install rain garden curb extensions to capture stormwater runoff and has incorporated rain gardens in designs of new parks and roadway projects. The redesign of Washington Street will replace damaged and missing street trees, improve street tree pit design, and incorporate 15 rain gardens at street corners with expanded street tree pits, treating approximately 140,000 gallons of stormwater.
- RAIN BARRELS. The City legalized the use of rain barrels in 2011 and has required the use of green roofs in redevelopment areas to minimize runoff. In conjunction with the Hoboken Green Team and funding from Sustainable Jersey, the City hosted two rain barrel workshops and provided fifty free 55-gallon rain barrels to residents.
- GREEN ROOFS. In June 2015, the City Council amended the City’s zoning code (Chapter 196) to require the use of cool roof material and incentivize green roofs. Green roofs are encouraged wherever possible and particularly so on roofs with surface area of 5,000 square feet or more where other alternative energy applications are not being used. If a green roof is provided on at least 50% of the unencumbered roof surface, the remainder of the available roof area, subject to setback and clearance requirements, may be utilized for the construction of a roof deck. Rooftop gardens are considered a type of green roof and may cover up to 90% of a roof’s surface area, provided they meet minimum setback requirements.
Coastal Flood Hazard Mitigation
The following projects specifically address coastal flood mitigation, in an effort to protect the City during high tide and storm surge events.
- HOBOKEN COVE RESILIENCY CENTER AND BOAT HOUSE. In 2012, the City of Hoboken created a master plan for the Hoboken Cove and 1600 Park Ave areas which envisioned new park space and waterfront access along the Hudson River. The project offers critical shoreline protection with added amenities for enhancing access and enjoyment of the City’s waterfront. The new park and boat house for Hoboken Cove creates a dual-purpose levee with parks and recreational facilities incorporated into the design. The project is anticipated to cost over $4 million. The City has already secured funding for over half of the project cost from the New Jersey Green Acres program and Hudson County Open Space Trust Fund. The City is preparing an application for additional funding to the U.S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration.
How is the City working with North Hudson Sewerage Authority?
The City of Hoboken is actively collaborating with the North Hudson Sewerage Authority (NHSA) on various projects to mitigate stormwater flooding in Hoboken.
- WET WEATHER PUMP STATIONS. A wet weather pumping station on Observer Highway was installed by the North Hudson Sewerage Authority in 2012, which can expel approximately 84 million gallons per day of water into the Hudson River. This pumping capacity has helped to alleviate, although not eliminate, flooding in Southwest Hoboken. A second wet weather pumping station with a pumping capacity of 80 million gallons per day was installed on 11th Street in 2016, which will alleviate flooding in Northwest Hoboken, particularly benefiting the area between 9th and 13th Streets.
- REQUIREMENTS CHECKLIST FOR SEWER CONNECTIONS. Approved in 2012, the requirements checklist contains an extensive section for Stormwater Management Systems. The regulations mandate stormwater management for certain types of new development; outline exemptions based on impact; provide guidance for the usage of stormwater management systems including green infrastructure such as rain gardens and green roofs; and present other extensive guidelines to help mitigate stormwater impacts in the NHSA service area. Appendix A of the checklist provides design requirements for green roofs and rain gardens. The City of Hoboken is ahead of NHSA with retention standards of its new Chapter 166 Stormwater Management Ordinance; which are independent of NHSA regulations.
- LONG TERM CONTROL PLAN. The 2015 individual CSO permit requirements from NJDEP will require NHSA to develop a Long Term Control Plan (LTCP) that will take three to five years, followed by decades to implement. Currently in 2016, NHSA is in the system characterization phase, during which the authority is completing GIS mapping, flow monitoring, and hydraulic analysis of the system; water quality modeling and sampling in the Hudson River; and a drainage study specifically for the Hoboken portion of the NHSA system. The City will work with NHSA to coordinate the LTCP public participation process, as well as incorporate the Eco-Zone and maximize the use of green infrastructure in Hoboken.
- PROPOSED ECO-DISTRICT. NHSA proposes to create an “ecological zone” in northwest Hoboken. NHSA envisions an eco-zone where the currently combined sewer system is separated, the chronic street flooding problems are alleviated, wetlands are restored to the cove, and developers are mandated to include green features in their buildings. Key to the eco-zone would be the Northwest Resiliency Park serving as a stormwater detention facility, and the separation of the combined sewer system in this area. The stormwater facility would be able to handle severe rain storms at a more rapid pace than a combined facility, thus better alleviating the chronic flooding in Northwest Hoboken.
How do you prepare before a storm event?
You can help! We can work together to prepare now so you and your family can be ready when the next emergency happens. To learn how, click here for the HOBOKEN READY Fact Sheet or haga clic aquí para Estas Listo en Hoboken hoja de datos. For further information, please contact the Hoboken CERT at email@example.com.
Sign up for the latest emergency alerts:
- City of Hoboken Nixle alert system
- Follow the City of Hoboken on Facebook and Twitter
- Emergency alerts from the City of Hoboken
- News and advisories from the City of Hoboken
- Emergency alerts from Hudson County
- New Jersey Special Needs Registry
- Weather alerts from the National Weather Service
How do you protect your family?
Review the HOBOKEN READY Fact Sheet. Three steps to protect your family include:
- Be Informed. Sign up for emergency alerts using the links above.
- Make a Plan. Develop a Family Emergency Plan. Consider developing two plans: 1) a plan to shelter in place and 2) a plan to evacuate. Also develop plans to move your car, and have a plan for pets.
- Build a Kit. Consider building two kits: 1) everything you will need to stay where you are and make it on your own 2) a lightweight, smaller version you can take with you if you have to evacuate.
|Top 10 recommended items for a kit should you stay in your home:
2. Nonperishable Food
3. AM/FM/NOAA Radio
4. LED Flashlight
5. LED Lantern
6. Extra batteries
7. First Aid Kit
8. Sanitary Water Jug
10. Manual Can Opener
|Top 10 recommended items for a kit should you evacuate your home:
1. First aid supplies
2. Nonperishable food
3. Batteries (hearing aid, flashlight)
4. Battery operated portable radio
6. Dry clothing
7. Shoes and socks
8. Important papers
9. Bank and check books
10. Valuable and cherished items
Flood Safety. There are several actions residents of Hoboken can take to decrease the potential for injury due to flooding.
- Know the flood warning procedure.
- Do not attempt to cross flowing water where water is above your knees.
- Keep children away from floodwaters and catch basins.
- If your vehicle stalls in high water, abandon it immediately and seek higher ground.
- Evacuate the flood hazard areas in times of impending flood or when advised to do so by the City.
- Stay away from downed power lines and electric lines. Report downed lines to the police department.
Property Inventory. It is also important to inventory and photograph your building’s contents and put important papers and insurance policies in a safe place before a storm, in case you need to make an insurance claim following a storm.
The information and suggestions listed here are not all inclusive, nor is there a guarantee that any particular action will be successful under all circumstances.
How do you protect your property?
Review the HOBOKEN READY Buildings Fact Sheet. Four key steps to protect your property include:
- Be Informed. Install a message board to communicate with tenants and emergency services. Post evacuation zone, evacuation route and the nearest emergency shelter. Post services available during extended utility outage and contact information of building manager. Communicate with the disabled and the elderly before and after the storm.
- Make a Plan. Learn how to shut off water, natural gas and electricity, test sump pump and backup pump, clean out sewage backflow preventer, test backup generator and emergency lighting, develop a fuel storage plan for generators, have a plan for renting pumps or generators, develop a plan for shutting down mechanical equipment, secure objects that can become airborne, and remove toxic materials stored in flood-prone areas.
- Take Action. Review the Hoboken Resilient Building Design Guidelines for flood protection measures.
- Avoid Hazards. Do not store hazardous materials indoors, use generators indoors, walk or drive through flooded areas, use candles or stove for light/heat, or open refrigerator/freezer doors unnecessarily.
Residents parked on the street during the day are encouraged to monitor weather reports and move vehicles from flood-prone areas if there is the potential for flooding. Vehicles in these areas can suffer severe damage as a result of flooding. Residents may wish to subscribe to weather alerts from the National Weather Service.
Residents concerned about potential overnight flooding are reminded that overnight parking from 8pm to 8am is available in Municipal Garages B and D and Midtown for $5. Regular garage fees will apply during the day. At times, the City may provide reduced rate parking in certain garages when there is the potential for flooding. To receive these notices, register for the Nixle alert system by visiting http://hobokennj.gov/alerts/
The Federal Insurance Administration suggests the following actions when coastal storms or hurricanes are imminent:
- Cut off all electric circuits at the fuse panel or disconnect switch. If this is not possible, turn off or disconnect all electrical appliances.
- Shut off the water service and gas values in your home.
- Move household items to the highest level you can.
- Remove cardboard boxes and newspapers as these materials can disintegrate and clog drains and vents.
- Keep a full tank of gas in your automobile.
Residents parked on the street during the day are encouraged to monitor weather reports and move vehicles from flood-prone areas if there is the potential for flooding. Vehicles in these areas can suffer severe damage as a result of flooding. Residents concerned about potential overnight flooding are reminded that overnight parking from 8pm to 8am is available in Municipal Garages B and D and Midtown for $5. Regular garage fees will apply during the day. At times, the City may provide reduced rate parking in certain garages when there is the potential for flooding. To receive these notices, register for the Nixle alert system.
Tenants should not implement any of the recommended actions without first consulting with their building owner. The information and suggestions listed here are not all inclusive, nor is there a guarantee that any particular action will be successful under all circumstances.
How do you protect your business?
Maintaining business continuity is important for you, and when you are able to continue operations after a disaster, you will improve your community’s ability to recover as well. The ReadyBusiness Program moves organizational leaders through a step-by-step process to:
- Identify your risk
- Develop a plan or preparedness program
- Take action
Following these steps in the Ready Business Program as a part of your overall business continuity planning will help protect assets (people, property, operations); sustain the capability to provide goods and services to customers and/or supply chain; maintain cash flow; preserve competitive advantage and reputation; and provide the ability to meet legal, regulatory, financial, and contractual obligations.
Organizations have six options for recognition through the ready business program. The levels include staff, surroundings, space, systems, structure, and service. The service level can be achieved by completing requirements for staff, surroundings, space, systems, structure, and service.
Benefits of participating in the ReadyBusiness Program include:
- Peace of mind that your organization is prepared not only for inland flooding, but for other business interruptions and natural disasters.
- Ready Business window cling to announce to your customers or clients and employees that you have taken steps to prepare your staff, surroundings, space, systems, structure, and are prepared to be of service after an event.
- Ready Business recognition certificate.
- Ready Business web badge to display on your organization’s website.
- Organization listing on Ready Business website. S
- ample news release to announce your organization’s participation in the Ready Business Program and tips for media placement.
The information and suggestions listed here are not all inclusive, nor is there a guarantee that any particular action will be successful under all circumstances.
Immediate Storm Recovery
The following tips can help you to restore your property or business following a flood event.
- Sign up for emergency alerts using the links above to make sure you are informed on recovery efforts, debris removal, and available supplies offered to residents.
- Check for structural damage. Before entering your building, look outside for loose power lines, damaged gas lines, foundation cracks or other damage. Parts of your home may be collapsed or damaged. Approach entrances carefully. See if porch roofs and overhangs have all their supports. It is important to check for structural damage before re-entering your building to avoid being trapped in a building collapse.
- File a flood insurance claim. If your building has suffered damage, call your insurance agent to file a claim. Take photos of any floodwater in your building and save any damaged personal property. Make a list of damaged or lost items and include their purchase date and value with receipts. Some damaged items may require disposal, so keep photographs of these items.
- Keep power off until an electrician has inspected your system for safety.
- Make sure your food and water are safe. Boil water for drinking and food preparation until authorities tell you that your water supply is safe. Discard items that have come in contact with floodwater, including canned goods, water bottles, plastic utensils and baby bottles. When in doubt, throw it out!
- Remove wet contents immediately to prevent mold. Wear rubber gloves and boots to clean and disinfect. Wet items should be cleaned with a pine-oil cleanser and bleach, completely dried, and monitored for several days for any fungal growth and odors.
- Properly dispose of debris. Routine garbage and recycling pickup may be supplemented by additional debris removal following a storm. Stay tuned to Nixle alerts for additional debris removal instructions. Materials such as cleaning products, non-latex paint, contaminated fuel and damaged fuel containers are hazardous. Latex Paint no longer contains dangerous chemicals and is not classified as “hazardous.” For hazardous material disposal, call the Hudson County Improvement Authority hotline at 201-324-6222 ext. 3257.
Permitting Emergency Property Repairs and Resilient Building Improvements
When an emergency threatens a structure or property with imminent destruction or emergency work is required to protect the health and safety of the occupants, the Construction Official or Floodplain Administrator can make an exception to the standard permit approval procedure. What qualifies for emergency work? Any work to restore or deliver essential services or abate life-threatening conditions.
However, beyond basic stabilization, any work to demolish, repair or rehabilitate the structure or property will require permits that can only be secured through the approval process. The NFIP and City of Hoboken Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance require that if the cost of reconstruction, rehabilitation, addition, or other improvements to a building equals or exceeds 50% of the building’s market value, then the building must meet the same construction requirements of a new building. Substantially damaged buildings must also be brought up to the same standards (Hoboken Code §104).
Hoboken’s Resilient Building Design Guidelines provide guidance on design, permitting and construction for ways to minimize future damage.
Please consult with the Construction Official and Zoning Officer prior to performing any renovations or alterations to a new or existing building. Construction must be undertaken in conformance with local Zoning and Construction Codes adopted by the City of Hoboken.
Reporting Maintenance Requests for Public Infrastructure
After flooding subsides, there may be debris or sludge remaining on streets and sidewalks. Please use Hoboken 311 to report any maintenance needs on public infrastructure.
NHSA conducts semi-annual inspections of all catch basins under municipal jurisdiction and removes all debris that has accumulated in the structure. Please use Hoboken 311 and call the North Hudson Sewerage Authority at 1-866-689-3970 to request clearing out catch basins.
Please use Hoboken 311 and call the NHSA hotline at 1-866-689-3970 to report an emergency issue that requires immediate attention such as sewer odors, sewer backups, suspected breaks in a sanitary sewer or storm drain, or missing manhole covers.
Hoboken has an antilitter ordinance (Hoboken Code §168-21), which prohibits the disposal of debris in the storm drainage system. Please use Hoboken 311 to report any littering.
During a combined sewer overflow event, the drainage system carries untreated runoff directly to the Hudson River. Illegal sanitary tie-in, pet waste and discharge of such wastes as oil, paint and fertilizer pollute the water, destroy aquatic plants, endanger wildlife and decrease the beauty of our water. It is a violation of New Jersey State Law to discharge hazardous substance into the environment (including waste motor oil, petroleum products, pesticides and herbicides). Please use Hoboken 311 and call the New Jersey Environmental Hotline at 1-877-927-6337 to report any such discharges.
How can you reduce your flood risk?
Designing and building in dense, urban, flood-prone areas such as Hoboken require special approaches and techniques to make sure residents and businesses experience minimal disruption and damage during and after a storm.
You can help! We can work together to lower individual and community-wide flood risk. To learn how, click here for the Flood Risk Reduction Fact Sheet and click here for the HOBOKEN READY Buildings Fact Sheet.
Hoboken’s Resilient Building Design Guidelines provide guidance on design, permitting and construction for flood risk reduction. A Construction Permit is required for most repairs and for all renovation or improvements made to a building or piece of property. If the property is located within the Special Flood Hazard Area and the renovations are substantial, or new construction is proposed, a Floodplain Permit must also be obtained. The design review process is virtually the same for homeowners, building and property owners, businesses and developers, although requirements for compliance may vary based on the building type and amount of work being proposed.
How can you help manage stormwater?
Reducing the volume of water flowing into Hoboken’s sewer system during rainfall events is key to stormwater management. On-site stormwater management and water conservation measures can lessen the strain on Hoboken’s sewer system.
You can help! We can work together to lessen the strain on the City’s sewer system, reducing potential flooding, sewer backups, and combined sewer overflows into the Hudson River. To learn how, click here for the Stormwater Management Fact Sheet and click here for the Water Conservation Fact Sheet.
How can you reduce your flood insurance premium?
Insure Your Property for Your Flood Hazard
The City of Hoboken’s exposure to flood hazard risks is evident by the number of properties included in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Standard Homeowner’s Insurance Policies do not cover losses due to floods. However, the City of Hoboken is a participant in the NFIP, which makes it possible for Hoboken property owners to obtain federally backed flood insurance. This insurance is available to any owner of insurable property (a building or its contents) in Hoboken.
Mortgage lenders for properties within the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) require owners to obtain flood insurance from the NFIP. In addition, property owners receiving awards following presidentially-declared disasters (such as Superstorm Sandy) are also often required to obtain NFIP insurance. Tenants may also insure their personal property against flood loss.
The City of Hoboken urges persons who live or own property in Hoboken to purchase flood insurance to protect themselves from losses due to flooding. Contact your insurance agent, visit FloodSmart.gov, or call 1-888-379-9531 for information on purchasing flood insurance. Note: There is a 30-day waiting period before most flood insurance policies go into effect.
Your Flood Insurance Premium
According to NFIP statistics, as of June 30, 2015, the City of Hoboken had 9,269 NFIP policies in place (the highest in Hudson County), with premiums of $6,734,044 (the highest in Hudson County and fifth highest in New Jersey). In addition, the overall liability to the NFIP from property owners in Hoboken was over $2 billion (third highest in New Jersey) with an average claim amount of $26,243.