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January 26, 2013

Flooding prompts emergency declaration

(Continued)

“I don’t know if you raise the road or what, because if you raise the road, you’ll flood the houses,” Provost said, gesturing toward 353 Lower Park and 363 Lower Park, which are already surrounded by icy flood water.

He said another idea is to try to involve the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which might have a role by declaring this part of town a flood-mitigation area.

COSTLY SOLUTION

Flooding here goes back almost 15 years when Niagara Mohawk, now National Grid, released a massive amount of sediment and silt from Chasm Falls hydroelectric dam several miles to the south.

The release choked off the river’s current, reducing the water depth from 22 feet to just 6 inches.

National Grid paid a fine to the State Department of Environmental Conservation for the sediment release.

The dam is now owned by Brookfield Power, which renewed its license with the Federal Regulatory Commission for 40 years in 2008.

The agreement states the company must remove shoals near Brand Road Bridge and sediment behind its existing dam, but that has not been done, and the town says it can’t afford to force Brookfield do the work.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers suggested five years ago that the town get federal officials involved for possible dredging to solve the problems.

But they cautioned that the town would have to pay part of the $500,000 study of the river’s condition and some of the $2 million remediation cost.

The town’s share would be about 35 percent, or $875,000, based on the cost estimates made in 2008.

Email Denise A. Raymo: draymo@pressrepublican.com

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