Designing to reduce flooding in the Five Towns

2022 is New York state's deadline for storm project completion

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Over six years after Hurricane Sandy, shovels have yet to hit the dirt on many of the infrastructure projects proposed through the NY Rising Community Reconstruction Program, which is overseen by the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery, including seven initiatives planned for the Five Towns and two surrounding communities.

The deadline for completion of all NY Rising projects is spring 2022, state officials said. The seven local projects are at varying stages of development, with most “in de-sign,” a phase in which engineers and officials analyze maps and data to determine how best to undertake a project.

Each project also has what is called a subrecipient — a municipality that oversees the receipt of funding and communicates with GOSR.

“We are excited that these seven projects representing a $24.4 million investment are advancing, and look forward to the Five Towns having them in place so they are more resilient against future storms,” said Emily Thompson, acting general counsel for GOSR.

Cedarhurst

The village is expected to have a pump station built on the site of its Department of Public Works, at 5 Hanlon Drive, just east of where the sewage treatment plant was located.

In the pre-design phase in September, Mayor Benjamin Weinstock said he was told by Nassau County DPW officials — this project’s subrecipient — to hire an architect. Weinstock said he has not spoken to the county DPW recently. “DPW is preparing a design contract for legislative approval,” department spokeswoman Mary Studdert said. “We expect the contract to be considered by the Legislature in the next two months.”

Weinstein explained that the pump station, which will be located near a creek and other tributaries to Jamaica Bay as well as Lawrence High School, will redirect water that collects in streets and storm drains back into waterways, to substantially reduce flooding. The high school had to be shut down when flooding from Hurricane Sandy destroyed the building’s electrical wiring.

“As the terrain changes, the need for the pump station increases,” Weinstock said, because, over time, more flooding could occur. Originally, $3 million of NY Rising funds were set aside for Cedarhurst. It is unclear what the pump station will cost.

Greater Atlantic Beach Water Reclamation District

Though a state list indicates that the Greater Atlantic Beach Water Reclamation District is to receive a resiliency upgrade for roughly $720,000 — the installation of three new pump stations, for which the design is complete and construction bids are being prepared — it is unclear what will be done, according to district officials.

The water reclamation district encompasses 2,134 parcels of land in Atlantic Beach, Atlantic Beach Estates and East Atlantic Beach. The district plant operates 24 hours a day and is designed to process 1.5 million gallons of water per day, but the daily average ranges from 600,000 to 700,000 gallons. The reclamation district is acting as its own subrecipient.

Hewlett Harbor

Also acting as its own subrecipient, Hewlett Harbor village has been ahead of schedule, helping to ensure that its project progresses. Mayor Mark Weiss said that the village was working on flood mitigation ideas “way before NY Rising was birthed” and because of that, much of the analysis had already been conducted.

Weiss said that 30 percent of the plans have been submitted for the $2.7 million project, which is now in the design phase. It will include considerable infrastructure upgrades to improve stormwater drainage in the “critical areas prone to flooding in the village,” he said, adding, “We are now working on computer-generated models on the steps we are taking to get the biggest bang for the buck.”

Because the project will take so much time and effort, Weiss said, having the village also serve as the subrecipient is the most efficient, expedient and responsible way to move forward for its taxpayers.

Inwood and Woodmere

The Town of Hempstead is overseeing more than $1.7 million for water drainage improvements in Inwood and Woodmere, work that is in the design phase.

The use of backflow-prevention devices is expected to reduce flooding substantially, and the system will also filter pollutants that contaminate nearby waterways like Cedar Point Lake, Doxey Brook, Foster Brook Lower, Head of Bay Lagoon, Motts Basin and Motts Creek. “Our objective with this and all storm mitigation projects is to reduce property damage and the cost of responding to flood emergencies,” Town Councilman Bruce Blakeman said.

Lawrence

A series of pipes are to be installed in an area of the village that is prone to flooding, at a cost of $9 million. The work, which is in the design phase, is expected to begin on Meadow Lane, south of Broadway, and stretch to the end of Causeway, south of Rock Hall Road, by the Lawrence Yacht & Country Club, officials said.

Studdert, the county DPW spokeswoman, said the county has contracted with LKMA, an engineering firm with offices in Brookhaven hamlet, to design the project. “The project kicked off in November and we are currently collecting survey data,” she said.

The goal is to increase water storage collection points — catch basins — and the speed of water drainage, village officials said. Construction blueprints should be finished this year, and construction is expected to start in 2020.

“I think that this will help a big part of the village and alleviate water flowing into the lowest point of Lawrence,” Mayor Alex Edelman said. “This is extremely important to get done. Hopefully it will be successful.”

Sean Sallie, deputy commissioner of the county DPW, and LKMA Senior Project Director Gilbert Anderson are scheduled to attend the Feb. 14 village board meeting, which is scheduled for 8 p.m. at Village Hall, at 196 Central Ave.

Meadowmere Park

An upgrade of the Meadowmere Park firehouse, at 14 Meyer Ave., which includes a backup generator, is estimated by state officials to be 50 percent completed. The project is slated to cost $500,000, and the Town of Hempstead is the subrecipient.

Have an opinion about the Five Towns GOSR projects? Send your letter to the editor to jbessen@liherald.com.