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New York State prepares for summer floods with emergency dam system

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Staff Writer | June 13, 2017
movable dam systems
Empire State   State officials successfully tested movable dam systems

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, N.Y.

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, Andrew M. Cuomo 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.

Governor 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.

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 Sand Bags, 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.


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