Clarkstown formed a West Nyack Drainage Task Force after the hamlet experienced major flooding problems due to Hurricane Irene in 2011. Department of Environmental Control Deputy Director Dennis Letson said two subcommittees were formed to research possible funding for a flood mitigation project and issue a Request for Proposals and identify possible consultants to perform the work.
Letson said the Task Force included representatives of the New York State Thruway, New York State Departments of Transportation and Environmental Control, state and federal elected officials, Orangetown, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, CSX Railroad, United Water and Nyack Water.
“Everybody is represented at the table at this point,” he said.
At Tuesday’s town board meeting, two of the original five firms that responded to the RFP gave 10-minute presentations about their expertise and shared some possible ideas for the project.
Ken DeGennaro introduced Brooker Engineering, PLLC of Suffern. He told the board that the firm had done work on the Hackensack River Watershed, Lake Lucille and the Demarest Kill along with acting as a FEMA contractor. Speaking about the West Nyack project, DeGennaro noted hydrologic studies would be needed that could measure the flow and rate of water into Lake DeForest. He estimated a study could take up to a year.
Maser Consulting Principal Associate Andrew Fetherston spoke on behalf of Maser, located in Newburgh, and D& B Engineers & Architects of White Plains. Fetherson brought up the possibility of opening up culverts to diminish the flooding and closely examining the railroad bridge. He said the downstream area would be analyzed and the possibility of using the grassy areas around highway intersections for drainage would be considered.
“We see this as a watershed wide approach,” he said.
Town Supervisor Alex Gromack said the flooding problem in West Nyack is compounded because the downstream area from the reservoir is affected as well.
“We can no longer wait for others to help solve the problems,” he said.
Gromack said the town hopes to get state and federal assistance in solving he problem and bringing relief to West Nyack residents who have endured flooding for many years.
Letson said the consultant review will continue and the bids had not yet been opened. He predicted a final recommendation to the board within three to four weeks.
In anticipation of the West Nyack drainage project getting underway, town officials has already looked at properties and had them appraised.
The town board also scheduled a public hearing on adding a new chapter to the Town Code for 12 p.m. on Dec. 20. The proposed local law would add a chapter for the Planning Board and amend two other chapters and change their titles. The second public hearing was set for Feb. 5 at 8 p.m. on adopting an updated official map of the town. The current map was reviewed by the Official Map Committee and GIS coordinator for errors and discrepancies.