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Middlesex, New Jersey homeowners say their properties are sinking into a creek, but no one will help them

By CHRISTINE SLOAN

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    MIDDLESEX, New Jersey (WCBS) — Homeowners in Middlesex, New Jersey brace for the worst every time it rains. They fear their homes will fall into a creek.

Steady rain has turned a creek behind several homes on Heather Lane into what looks like a raging river.

The creek has taken away a good chunk of Ken Beck’s backyard.

“When we had the rain on the 18th, which was approximately four inches of rain. We lost six feet of property,” said Beck.

Residents said a lot of land behind their homes has been sinking over the past decade.

LOCAL NEWS Middlesex, New Jersey homeowners say their properties are sinking into a creek, but no one will help them newyork BY CHRISTINE SLOAN

DECEMBER 28, 2023 / 4:53 PM EST / CBS NEW YORK

MIDDLESEX, N.J. — Homeowners in Middlesex, New Jersey brace for the worst every time it rains. They fear their homes will fall into a creek.

Steady rain has turned a creek behind several homes on Heather Lane into what looks like a raging river.

The creek has taken away a good chunk of Ken Beck’s backyard.

“When we had the rain on the 18th, which was approximately four inches of rain. We lost six feet of property,” said Beck.

Residents said a lot of land behind their homes has been sinking over the past decade.

“This property used to go out to where those branches are. So a good 30, 40 feet of property has been taken away from us,” said Al Platten.

One house on Heather Lane has already been condemned.

“Our engineers have determined maybe two, maybe three more significant rains and this house is going in,” said Middlesex Borough Mayor John L. Madden.

Beck fears his home will fall into the creek next.

“I’m gonna lose my house, possibly the town will condemn me,” said Beck.

It’s not just the land behind homes on Heather Lane that’s sinking. Property behind a home one street over is sinking too.

Residents said they reached out to Gov. Phil Murphy, the federal government and other local lawmakers, but no one is helping.

“I think that they should put a bulkhead or they should put a retaining wall in here just to divert the water,” said Beck.

Residents blamed their problems on a retaining wall and pump station that the Army Corps of Engineers built as part of the Green Brook Project to prevent flooding in nearby Bound Brook.

“It pumps over 100,000 gallons of water a minute which brings it down here and the erosion is accelerated,” said Madden.

The Army Corps of Engineers sent us the following statement:

The Army Corps of Engineers investigated the erosion issue back in 2020-21 when it was first brought to our attention. A field visit was conducted and a review of plans and models were made. It was determined that the erosion at Heather Lane is not related to the Green Brook project.

In addition, we have met with representatives from Middleborough and residents of Heather Lane and presented this information. The residents continue to claim the erosion is caused by the project; however, all of our data indicates this is not the case. Since this issue is unrelated to the Green Brook project, we are not able to provide assistance as the issue at Heather Lane is unrelated to the Green Brook project.

“This has not been impacted by the pumping station,” Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman said back in August.

Madden said he’ll use taxpayer money to create some kind of bank stabilization at the creek.

State Sen. Jon Bramnick said he’ll try to get emergency money from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and introduce a resolution in the next budget to help the residents.

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