Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently announced the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services is deploying a temporary, emergency dam system in the town of Greece in Monroe County and village of Sodus Point in Wayne County.
With Lake Ontario forecasted 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.
Cuomo will provide $1 million in expedited funding — up to $500,000 for Greece and up to $500,000 for Sodus Point — to conduct emergency repairs and upgrades to flood-impacted wastewater treatment systems. He also renewed his 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 asked the Army Corps to assess the feasibility of more permanent onshore and offshore measures to protect communities in the long term.
“It is imperative that we continue to work proactively to mitigate damage and provide support to homeowners and impacted communities,” 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 conforms to the terrain, withstands waves and holds back water.
Dams have been placed in two locations.
Approximately 140 feet have been placed on a private lot on Old Edgemere Drive in Greece. 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 Sodus Point, approximately 700 feet of dam has been placed through roadways at Arney’s Marina, which is currently underwater. The placement will enable the land side to be pumped off, regaining access to one of the Sodus Point wastewater 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 1.5 miles of flexible, deployable dam.
Cuomo 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 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.
The governor called upon the International Joint Commission to increase the volume and duration of outflows from Lake Ontario. He said the recent IJC board decision to increase outflows to 10,400 cubic meters per second for 72 hours is overdue and insufficient.
Cuomo directed New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation to implement a 5 mph speed limit to control wakes within 600 feet of the Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River shorelines as part of the state’s ongoing response to coastal flooding in the region. Vessels operating within 600 feet of shore must observe a 5 mph speed limit to reduce impacts to shoreline residences and infrastructure caused by wave action and to promote safe boating. Under normal conditions, boaters are required to obey the 5 mph speed limit within 100 feet of shore.