Recent heavy rains have outrun the ability of the storm drains on Market Street in Saugerties to handle the water, leading to short-term flooding on some village streets.
Flooding was particularly bad on Market Street, said mayor William Murphy at the regular meeting of the village board this Monday, August 20. Market Street is a state road, and the village can’t deal with it on its own. Murphy suggested contacting the state for help.
“Market Street was the only street that was flooded,” he said.
Village public works superintendent Bob Fanelli said the department will install new catch basins on Market Street between Robinson and Prospect streets in the week following the meeting. “There are outdated catch basins there,” he said. “They worked well for 80 years, but now, with the volume of water, we’re going to upgrade them with bigger ones.”
In recent years there have been more storms, and greater volumes of water than in the past, Fanelli noted. “I don’t know whether it is climate change or what, but storms are definitely worse.”
The 16-inch-by-24-inch catch basins will be replaced with 28-inch-by-48-inch units, he said. If that doesn’t solve the problem, then further steps would be necessary.
Following his report, Fanelli announced his plans to retire in September. “I don’t know how to follow that,” joked water department superintendent Mike Hopf. “I’ll announce my retirement in 17 years.”
Water seemed the theme of the meeting, Hopf said. “Over the past four weeks we’ve had almost 15 inches of rain. It was almost drought conditions leading up to July 17, when we had almost three-quarters of an inch. On the 21st we had three-quarters, and on the 25th we had an inch and a half, which caused some flash flooding in the water plant.”
Over the past four weeks, the plant has been on and off several times. “I can’t say with any confidence that the tank has been full the past four weeks,” said Hopf. “We’ve been putting in many man-hours of operations, doing painstaking tasks to produce both quality and quantity.”
Hopf thanked the operators for their dedication, putting in long hours cleaning the filters, make chemical adjustments, “getting it dialed up, getting on board up to full speed and then getting hit again.”
In July, the department treated 32.478 million gallons, an average of over a million gallons per day, he said.
“Pass on our thanks, too, to your operators,” said trustee Jeff Helmuth. “You have had a tough couple of weeks.”
Grass, waterfront and events
In other business, code enforcement officer Eyal Saad noted there were no laws in the village restricting leaving grass cuttings on the sidewalks and roadways. “I looked all through the village code, and there is nothing that specifically says you can’t put grass on the road,” he said. “It’s not the right thing to do. The vehicle and traffic law addresses placing snow on the roadways, as well as glass, empty cans, but no grass.”
Saad said he plans to see how other municipalities deal with the problem.
Trustee Jeff Helmuth said Jason Curry and Sam O’Dell have been appointed to the waterfront advisory board. He noted that the board needed to schedule a meeting and select its own chairman. He and Alex Wade are working to update the board’s core documents, he said.
Trustee Jeanine Mayer reported that Lighthouse Channel 23 held its first fundraiser, a Caribbean Festival which drew more than 2000 people. Plans for an expanded Saugerties participation in the Woodstock Film Festival, October 10 to 14 this year, include a “Crawl Saugerties.” Various businesses would host small parties and would advertise in the festival program.
The Saugerties Visitors Center is ending its initial rent-free two years. Mayer said the Chamber of Commerce is looking for alternative space. The next chamber meeting is August 29 at 6:30 p.m. Plans for the annual Mum Festival in Seamon Park on October 7 are proceeding, Mayer said.
This video, posted to Facebook last month by Rory Bisignano, shows flooding in the center of the village.