Hillsborough reports two storm-related deaths; resources available to those in need after Ida causes widespread flooding


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During Tropical Storm Ida on Sept. 1, members of the Hillsborough Police Department responded to multiple incidents involving water rescues of citizens whose vehicles became disabled in quickly rising flood waters.

Once waters began to recede, two vehicles in separate locations were discovered in which the occupants were found deceased.

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Cheryl Talke, 61, of Belle Mead, was recovered at Route 206 near the Montgomery border.

Daphnee Francisca Lopez Del Bono, 30, a resident of Santiago, Chile, who resided in Ringoes, was recovered from Amwell Road near North Willow.

According to a GoFundMe page set up for Lopez, “on behalf of Uceda International and Uceda Institute, we started this fund to assist Daphne Lopez’s family in the funeral and transport costs. Daphne was an international student of ours from Chile and tragically died in the flood on Sept. 1, 2021. Please help us help her family by contributing to this fund. The funds will be used to repatriate Daphne’s body back to Chile.”

For information on how to support the Lopez family, visit www.gofundme.com/f/help-with-funeral-and-transport

Road closures
The following roads had been closed due to flooding: Route 206 at Dukes Parkway, Dukes Parkway East, Route 206 to Dukes Parkway West, Millstone River Road at Amsterdam to the Manville border, Sunnymead Road, Amwell Road at Montgomery to Clover Hill, Three Bridges Road, Blackpoint Road, Montgomery Road from Wertsville and Amwell, River Road at Riverside Drive, Studdiford, and River Road at Elm Street.


Food assistance

Carts are set up by the gazebo, rear of the Municipal Building, 379 S. Branch Road, for donations of goods. Items needed at this time include cleaning products, bug spray, baby wipes, baby formula, diapers, personal hygiene products and food donations.

Monetary donations can be made through Hillsborough’s Community Assistance Network (CAN). Visit www.hillsborough-nj.org/social-services-page-list/291-community-assistance-network for more information.

Those in need of assistance should email rooms@hillsborough-nj.org

On Labor Day, C.A.N. offered donations of food, water, clothing, cleaning products and school supplies outside of the municipal building from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

In addition, Feeding Hands Pantry, which just recently moved from Hillsborough down Route 206 to Raritan Township, was devastated by flooding.

Feeding Hands lost all of its refrigerators and freezers in addition to food.
They did not have flood insurance, so they are looking for monetary donations, however small, to help get them get back to helping the so many in need.
The link for donations is available at www.feedinghandspantry.org/donate/

Visit www.feedinghandspantry.org for other ways to contribute.

Other services

Pinnacle Health and Fitness on Brower Lane is offering its shower facilities to the public. There are three newly renovated locker rooms available: a men’s, women’s and a family locker room.

Park in the main parking lot on the north side of the facility and then enter the building via the handicap ramp. Anyone entering the facility who is not a member will be required to proceed up to the second floor and fill out a guest form at the Member Services desk.
For more information, visit www.pinnacle-nj.com.

Water and ice are being provided by JCP&L. In Somerset County, visit ShopRite at 93 Morristown Road (Route 202) in Bernardsville, or at 3166 Route 22 in Somerville.

Visit www.firstenergycorp.com/outages_help/storm_info/water-ice.html for a complete list of locations throughout the state.



Contacting insurance companies for private property damage


If private property (yard, driveway, ditches, private lanes, trees) was damaged due to Ida, the township recommends contacting your homeowner or flood insurance company first to see what may be covered, and then contact a private landscape/drainage contractor and, or private civil engineer, for advice and design.

The township cannot recommend redesigns or contractors for private property. If there is damage to the public road you can contact the township’s Public Works Department or Somerset County depending if you live on a township or county road.



Homes deemed unsafe


If your home has been posted unsafe by the Hillsborough Township Construction Office due to flood damage, note the following:


  • Do not attempt to turn on gas or electricity from the meter or panel.
  • Demolition and repair of the structure requires permits.
  • Structural damage requires repair plans from a registered New Jersey engineer or architect.
  • Contact your homeowners Insurance and deal with only contractors that are approved by your Insurance company.
  • Contractor are required to be licensed by the State of New Jersey, ask for contractor licensing.
  • If your house has been posted unsafe you and your family should not be living within the structure.
  • If your meter gas and/or electric has been removed by the utility company you will need approval from the Building Department for the utilities to be turned back on.
  • All appliances that have been under flood water will need to be removed. This includes, but is not limited to, furnaces and air conditioners, water heaters, stoves, refrigerators, washers/dryers etc.


Homes not deemed unsafe


If your home has sustained flood damage but has not been posted unsafe, note the following:


  • The electricity should be shut off in the area of the damage. Gas may need to be shut while the damage is assessed.


  • If water heaters and furnaces have been submerged the appliance will need to be removed and replaced.


  • Permits are required for repairs. The township permit fees will be waived until Dec. 31 for Ida-related damages. Hillsborough Township’s Building Department’s contact number is 908-369-5882.





Well water check

The Hillsborough Health Department and Garden State Laboratories have worked out an agreement to help residents with drinking water wells to test them for bacterial contamination that can happen when flooding washes contaminants into the well.
If your well cap was submerged or if your well cap is under the ground and you had water on your property, your well may be contaminated.
Any well should be tested after a substantial amount of rain, and also on an annual basis for bacterial contamination.
If the well is contaminated, you will need to disinfect the well. This can be done by following the instructions posted online and then retesting, or you can have a well driller or well pump contractor do the disinfection for you.
If you are interested in testing your well for bacterial contamination, without charge, follow these instructions:
Garden State Labs will provide well testing kits that can be picked up at the Hillsborough Health Department after 10 a.m. Sept. 7 through Sept. 9. Follow the instructions, fill out the form, and return to the Health Department.
The sample must be tested within 24 hours, so if you are going to test, take the sample immediately before coming to the health department to drop it off.
The sample will be refrigerated, and Garden State Labs will pick up the samples in the afternoons.
Homeowners will receive the results in the mail.
Call the Hillsborough Health Department at 908-369-5652 to have your well tested.



Generator use safety tips

  • Keep generators outside of your home.
  • Do not use the generator in the garage.
  • Carbon monoxide fumes are odorless and can quickly overwhelm you indoors.
  • Refuel generators carefully.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and guidelines when using generators.
  • Use the appropriately sized and type power cords to carry the electric load.
  • Overloaded cords can overheat and cause fires.
  • Never run cords under rugs or carpets where heat might build up or damage to a cord may go unnoticed.


Dangers of mold


In terms of mold, there are more than 200,000 known species. Mold grows from spores and spores are found everywhere, both inside and outside. The spores need moisture and food to grow. Some common food sources that mold use include wood, wallpaper, sheetrock, paper, wool, leather, hair and dust.

The key to preventing or eliminating mold growth is to remove the moisture.

Rather than focus on what kind of mold you found, focus on finding the source of the moisture which caused the mold in the first place.

If mold is on hard, non-porous material, like wood, countertops:

Ventilate the area or room as much as possible. Open windows and doors while working and place fans in the windows, blowing the air outside.

An N95 mask should be worn while working.

Protect the rest of home by hanging plastic sheeting in doorways.

Do not spray mold with bleach. Bleach will kill mold, but the bleach will dissipate and leave water on whatever you sprayed, which will feed new mold.

Also, when mold dies, it can be more harmful than when it was alive.

Instead, make a solution with trisodium phosphate or a mild detergent and water. Scrub hard/non-porous items with a brush or wipe with clothes, then wipe dry.

Use as little water as possible when mixing cleaning solutions, as the key is to use it to help remove mold and dry the surface as quickly as possible. Soaking a surface, even with a cleaning agent, will lead to new mold growth.

Use fans, increased ventilation, or dehumidifier in the work area to remove moisture ASAP.

If mold is on soft, porous material, like drywall or furniture:

Item or material must be discarded/replaced. There is no way for you to completely remove all spores, and if any are left, it will begin to grow again.


If you aren’t comfortable removing the mold, hire a professional company that deals with mold remediation.


If mold grew once, it can come back if you don’t remove the moisture.


Increase ventilation to the area, or use a dehumidifier to remove moisture.


Check gutters and downspouts to make sure they are draining away from the foundation of your house.

Also, make sure the grading around your house is pitched away from your house.


For additional guidance, visit the U.S. EPA mold website at www.epa.gov/mold



Storm-related debris dropoff


The Auten Road Facility will resume operations on Sept. 7 for storm-related debris dropoff from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. It will remain open through Sept. 10 from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m., daily.


Further contact information

To contact Social Services or the Health Department during non-business hours, call the police department’s non-emergency number at 908-369-4323.

To assist residents with storm-related matters, the Building Department can be reached at 908-369-5882 during normal operating hours.

Editor’s Note: The majority of this information was compiled from Hillsborough Township e-newsletters and updates.

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