2 communities – Greece and Sodus Point – get temporary dams to protect from flooding

Photos courtesy of Gov. Cuomo’s Office: The Town of Greece has a new portable Aqua Dam on retaining wall to help hold back waves from crashing on homes due to high water levels in Lake Ontario.

Posted 13 June 2017 at 3:55 pm

Press Release, Gov. Cuomo’s Office

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services is deploying a temporary, emergency dam system in the Town of Greece in Monroe County and in the Village of Sodus Point in Wayne County.

With Lake Ontario forecast to slowly decrease but remain at high levels through mid-summer, the water filled dams can be rolled quickly, effectively and at less cost than sandbags to protect property.

Additionally, the Governor will provide approximately $1 million in expedited funding – up to $500,000 for the Town of Greece and up to $500,000 for the Village of Sodus Point – to conduct emergency repairs and upgrades to flood-impacted wastewater treatment systems.

Cuomo also renewed his May 9, 2017 request for assistance from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Advanced Measures program, to immediately deploy protective measures such as rocks and gabions to safeguard areas that remain at heightened risk of flooding. The governor has also asked the Army Corps to assess the feasibility of more permanent onshore and offshore measures to protect communities in the long term.

“With Lake Ontario forecast to slowly decrease but remain at high levels through mid-summer, it is imperative that we continue to work proactively to mitigate damage and provide support to homeowners and impacted communities,” Governor Cuomo said. “These temporary dam systems are the latest step in that comprehensive effort, and we will continue to think out of the box to help the region prevent further damage and return to normal.”

State officials successfully tested these movable, emergency dam systems in several flood prone areas affected by rising Lake Ontario flood waters over the past few weeks to ensure this technology properly conforms to the terrain, withstands waves, and holds back water. Dams have now been placed in two locations.

In the Town of Greece, where approximately 140 feet have been placed on a private lot on Old Edgemere Dr. This open lot is a major contributor to the inflow of water that affects the roadway and sanitary sewers and the dam’s placement will reduce the impact of flooding. In the Village of Sodus Point, the approximately 700 feet of dam has been placed through roadways at Arney’s Marina, which is currently under water. The placement here will enable the land side to be pumped off regaining access to one of the Sodus Point waste water treatment lift stations.

Compared to sandbags, these dams have a number of advantages. The dams are reusable, while sandbags are typically disposed of after use. These dams can also be considered an investment in flood management for the state and have an added financial benefit because the reduction in labor saves money. In addition, the dams can be quickly deployed, going up at least five times faster than other systems and almost 20 times faster than sandbags, and the barriers are flexible, contouring to the site where they are needed. To date, DHSES has procured roughly 1.5 miles of flexible, deployable dam.

The Governor also announced up to $1 million in funding for emergency repairs and resiliency upgrades to the Sodus Point and Greece wastewater treatment systems, up to $500,000 for each plant. The funding will be available to reimburse the Village and the Town for thousands of dollars in costs incurred to prevent ongoing floodwaters from overloading their wastewater treatment systems, including emergency work to repair pump stations, seal sewer lines and operate bypass systems. The funding may also support upgrades, such as the elevation or grading of critical infrastructure, to enhance resiliency in the face of future high water level conditions.

In addition, the Governor again called upon the International Joint Commission to increase the volume and duration of outflows from Lake Ontario. The recent IJC board decision to increase outflows to 10,400 cubic meters per second for 72 hours is both long overdue and insufficient, Cuomo said.

Governor Cuomo reviews an inflatable dam deployment by New York National Guard members to combat flooding on Lake Ontario.

Cuomo said the inflatable dams and funding for Greece and Sodus Point are the latest steps to support the communities along the shore of Lake Ontario, which have been devastated by unprecedented flooding. Last month, the Governor declared a State of Emergency in Cayuga, Jefferson, Monroe, Niagara, Orleans, Oswego, St. Lawrence, and Wayne counties for the region in order to expedite repairs to impacted structures and construction of shoreline stabilization projects. Additionally, staff from the Lake Ontario Rapid Response Team continue to be deployed to assist residents and monitor response efforts along the Lake Ontario shoreline.

The Governor also directed the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation to implement a 5-mile-per-hour speed limit to control wakes within 600 feet of the Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River shoreline as part of the state’s ongoing response to coastal flooding in the region.

Emergency Funding

Governor Cuomo recently announced $7 million in state funding to assist homeowners that have been impacted by flooding along Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River. The new investment program will provide up to $40,000 for homeowners to support interior and exterior repairs to structural damage caused by flooding, as well as the repair or replacement of permanent fixtures.

This new funding for homeowners is available through New York State Homes and Community Renewal and will be administered through not-for profit housing organizations seeking to help homeowners affected by the flooding. Homeowners seeking assistance are encouraged to contact the not-for-profit organizations that have already expressed interest in serving as program participants to determine eligibility and ask questions about the program. Those organizations are listed here. Homeowners may also contact the HCR Office of Community Renewal directly to express interest and ask questions by emailing LakeOntario@nyshcr.org or calling 518-474-2057. For more information about eligibility and program parameters, read the Lake Ontario Home Owner Recovery Assistance Program Fact Sheet.

This funding is in addition to the $10 million in state funding announced for eligible municipalities to repair public infrastructure, and the up to $5 million in grants announced for small businesses with physical damage or loss as a result of flooding. These programs are open to eligible applicants in Cayuga, Jefferson, Monroe, Niagara, Orleans, Oswego, St. Lawrence, and Wayne counties, and provide grants for flood-related costs that have not or will not be compensated by any other federal, state or local recovery program or any third-party payers.

The governor also signed legislation amending the Clean Water Infrastructure Act of 2017 to provide emergency financial assistance for municipalities to be available immediately. The amended legislation removes a 120 day waiting period, allowing municipalities across the state to access emergency loans.

Emergency Response Mobile Command Centers and DEC Permitting Offices open on weekends throughout the summer

To continue the state’s efforts in helping residents and businesses recover from flooding and damage, the NYS Emergency Response Mobile Command Centers and DEC permitting offices will offer weekend hours throughout the summer. In addition, those who are not able to visit the Emergency Response Mobile Command Center can call the Lake Ontario Flood Assistance Hotline at 1-866-244-3839, seven days a week, from 8 a.m. through 8 p.m. for help with insurance-related issues, assistance with flood mitigation measures such as sandbags, state funding to assist those impacted by flooding, and for technical guidance regarding on-site repairs to their property. To date, the state has assisted more than 1,400 individuals at the Mobile Command Centers, fielded more than 1,000 calls through the hotline, and DEC has issued more than 668 permits.

The Command Center will be in Orleans County on Friday at the County Marine Park on Route 98 in Carlton.

The DEC also has deployed a team of experienced coastal engineers to the Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River region to meet with property owners, conduct site visits and offer technical assistance. DEC’s engineers stand ready to work with property owners so that protective structures can be repaired and homeowners can take appropriate actions expeditiously. DEC will continue to provide support to communities through expedited permitting, site inspections, and technical guidance at regional offices.

Regional Resource Deployment

The Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services’ Office of Emergency Management is working with county and local partners to monitor water levels of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River.  Additional resources from other state stockpiles have been shifted to locations in Monroe County to prepare for worsening conditions.

To date, more than 1.6 million sandbags and 11 sandbaggers – at least one for each county, along with 122 pumps of various sizes with associated hoses, have been deployed to affected communities to help mitigate flooding to impacted counties.

Currently, Lake Ontario is 31 inches above its level of one year ago and while these levels are not anticipated to increase in the near future, forecasters expect that it will take many weeks for water levels to normalize.

The resources devoted to Orleans County include: 228,000 sandbags and 2 sandbag fillers.

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