Written by Rich Forestano Friday, 04 June 2010 00:00
Town of North Hempstead Supervisor Jon Kaiman, Mineola Mayor Jack M. Martins and Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano met on May 26 and reached an agreement to handle the flooding issues that have plagued eastern borderline Mineola and Carle Place residents for decades.
Previously, the village was trying to get a deal in place with then- County Executive Tom Suozzi, but nothing ever developed. According to sources, an intermunicipality agreement is expected to come to fruition next week.
The agreement will commit all three parties to work together to resolve the issue. The specifics have not been finalized, but it’s believed to entail the equal sharing of the scope of the construction. And the design phase would determine which party does what.
New York State has granted $2.4 million to the Town of North Hempstead for flood remediation to be shared by the three municipalities. Furthermore, it has been required by New York that the monies be used only on this project and respects the guidelines put forth by the state.
All three parties agreed in principle to fix the problem and will divide the costs equally. The next phase of the project, which has taken over three years to prepare and implement, is the construction assessment, which would be followed by actual construction.
Mineola has agreed to reconfigure the south catch basin to handle more storm water flow. The county will build a bypass for water going south on Sheridan Boulevard toward the catch basin to reduce the amount of storm water that heads down to Bruce Terrace and the surrounding area.
“By redesigning everything, we have to make sure the destination of the water can accommodate the additional volume of water,” Martins said. “There’s a couple of additional steps with the county committing to putting the interceptor on Sheridan [Boulevard] and the town committing to cleaning out the re-charge basin and with the village [of Mineola] committing to making the site for the future catch basin available to the town [of North Hempstead].”
The Town of North Hempstead, with the village’s consent will build a catch basin on the north side of Westbury Avenue near Glen Cove Road. As to who maintains it still remains uncertain. In turn, the Town of North Hempstead will clean out the catch basin located on the south side of Westbury Avenue to ease the flow of storm water when the bypass is complete.
“Here, local government is working together across party lines,” Kaiman said. “We’re in different parties, different layers of government. We’re all working together and when we sit at the table, we’re government officials. It’s really exciting that we’re all coming together. It’s almost a historic moment of different layers of government coming together to solve a half-century old problem.”
Kaiman anticipates that this project could be completed in one year. When discussions began, it was required that Mineola get preliminary engineering studies done to assess the issue before presenting it to Nassau County and the Town of North Hempstead. The engineers had to study the natural flow of the water and implement a plan to fix the problem.
The solution is multijurisdictional. Nassau County storm water lines are used to funnel the water, but don’t have the capacity to handle heavy, steady rain over long periods of time and feeds into Mineola’s catch basin.
“We’re hoping to have something to put before the town board at our June 8 meeting,” Kaiman iterated. “The details of the agreement will involve how the money is spent, and we have to make sure it’s all done fairly and equitably. We have to authorize a bond to cover the whole thing. It will be a special fund dedicated to this purpose.”
The engineers retained on the project have concluded three factors that must happen. First, the piping on Sheridan Boulevard has to be changed. Second, the connection point with Nassau County drainage lines have to be worked on to handle larger water flow and third, the village’s catch basin needs to be dug out to compensate for the extensive water flow in that area.
Mangano restated the fact that all three municipalities will equally foot the bill and that, “while any of the three municipalities involved could have gone ahead on an individual project, this work would only have been a band-aid solution and not addressed the overall problem. We believe that the mutual commitment reached by Nassau County, the Village of Mineola, and the Town of North Hempstead is a significant indication of the willingness of three government agencies to significantly protect the residents suffering from this flooding issue and foremost doing what is right and what affords the best value to our tax payers.”
Since homes were built in the area of and on Bruce Terrace on the border of Mineola and Carle Place 60 years ago, flooding has ensued during times of heavy rainfall. The area around Bruce Terrace is essentially, the funnel of all the rainfall because of the flow and gravity issue.
“The project, more so than anything else, takes place in the village,” Martins stated. “To get the county and the town to engage has been great. In the years that we’ve been trying to get this done, I have a really good sense that we’ll get it done in the short term.”
In terms of gravity, water in the area flows west to east, starting from Sheridan Blvd and north to south from Jericho Turnpike. The houses in that area sit in the lowest part of the village of Mineola, which is where all the water flows. Roslyn Road is the dividing line in terms of the change in the water flow, once it crosses over it west to east.
Under the geographic area of Bruce Terrace, Dow Avenue, Jerome Avenue, Fairfield Avenue and the surrounding area, sits drainage lines. Those drainage lines collect that water and move it underground into the catch basins.
During times of heavy rainfall, the drainage lines don’t transport the water fast enough, which causes the storm-drains to fill up and pool in the Bruce Terrace area. Carle Place homes sit directly behind the east side of Bruce Terrace.
In order to state that the problem merits a solution, the village referenced a thunderstorm that took place on July 18, 2007 and various rainstorms throughout 2010. According to the Mineola Department of Public Works, rainfall amounted to 2.9 inches per hour on that day, which has been documented as the largest rainfall recorded in an hour since 1941.