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FEMA rep inspects Saranac Lake flood damage

State of emergency extended another five days

May 5, 2011
By CHRIS KNIGHT - Senior Staff Writer (cknight@adirondackdailyenterprise.com) , Adirondack Daily Enterprise

SARANAC LAKE - A representative of the Federal Emergency Management Agency was in the village today to inspect infrastructure damage - $5 million worth, village officials estimate - caused by flooding that began more than a week ago and shows no signs of subsiding.

Meanwhile, the state of emergency in the village and the town of Harrietstown has been extended.

"We have redeclared another five days on the state of emergency based on the water coming up," village Manager John Sweeney said this afternoon. "It should be going down."

Sweeney said the water level at the Lake Flower dam was 27 inches over the spillway, up 4 inches from Wednesday morning. In response, the village has opened the dam's floodgates even more, to a width of 79 inches.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation is releasing 1,100 cubic feet of water per second from its lower locks on the Saranac River. The village is putting out more, roughly 1,800 cubic feet per second, which means "the water (in Lake Flower) should be going down," Sweeney said.

But it isn't, and the water levels remain high in the lakes upstream from the village.

"When I called DEC this morning, they were 30 inches over their spillway, which is just about, if I recall, where we started this whole thing," Sweeney said. "(Village Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator) Kevin Pratt went up and he looked at Bartlett Carry (between Upper and Middle Saranac lakes), and there's a lot of water still coming at us. So we're still dealing with what's coming from Upper, Middle and Lower Saranac, Oseetah and Kiwassa (lakes)."

Below the Lake Flower dam, water levels are also on the rise, Sweeney said.

"The water at Scott's Florist is up again, behind J.C. Penney is up, down at Munn's it's up," he said. "I was hoping to have it back in the river. It's apparent that this is here for a while."

There's still no word as to when the Dorsey Street or Main Street bridges, which have been closed for a week, could reopen to vehicle traffic. Sweeney said county officials want to inspect the bridges again before deciding if they can be reopened.

Sweeney said he met with the FEMA representative earlier in the day and provided him with a "very preliminary" assessment of damage to the sewer plant, the peninsula behind the Water Department building, retaining walls, the River Walk and other infrastructure.

"It was a very informal process," Sweeney said. "They're gathering data."

Sweeney said the FEMA official was only looking at damage to public infrastructure to determine if the village would be eligible for federal disaster aid. An assessment of flood damage to privately owned properties could take place later, Sweeney said.

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Contact Chris Knight at 518-891-2600 ext. 24 or cknight@adirondackdailyenterprise.com.

 
 

 

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