BY MICHAEL RICONDA
Spring Valley – As a ceremonial first step in a long-anticipated project, county, town and village officials gathered at a section of Pascack Brook in Spring Valley on August 14 to break ground on the recently-approved Pascack Brook bypass culvert project, which will alleviate flooding for some 80 Spring Valley homeowners.
In attendance were county legislators Aron Wieder, Toney Earl and Ilan Schoenberger, Rockland Drainage Agency President Vincent Altieri, Spring Valley trustees Joseph Gross and Demeza Delhomme, Ramapo Councilman David Friedman and Ramapo Supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence. In addition, dozens of Spring Valley residents turned out to watch the groundbreaking in hopes that the long-running problem would finally see a resolution.
“This is the crux of what county government is about,” Wieder said.
The culvert, which was approved by the county legislature on August 6, will stretch 1300 feet down Pascack Brook, diverting extra water. As it stands right now, heavy rains which push the water level past 18 inches have the potential to overflow and do significant damage to the lower levels of nearby homes.
The project will take 18 to 20 months to complete and will be financed with a bonded total of almost $10 million from the county, one million pledged by the Town of Ramapo and $800,000 pledged by the Village of Spring Valley.
Flooding issues had been noticeable since at least the 1960s. In 2001, the county legislature pushed for a project to fix the brook, but it was not until recent days that all the necessary approvals had been secured and a winning bidder, Metra Engineering, was chosen.
“It took a long time to get the plans that were acceptable to both the county and everybody else,” Schoenberger explained. “It took a long time to get the easements, and then it took a long time to get the approval from the Army Corps of Engineers and the DEC, but today we have everything in place.”
Metra’s selection was one of several flood remediation approvals on August 6, including a $100,000 capital project for Muddy Creek and $50,000 for embankment and stream improvements at Sparkill Creek, both of which are in Orangetown.
During construction, roads will be temporarily closed, but residents will have the opportunity to receive text updates on building developments. Residents will also have the opportunity to ask questions and comment on the project by calling the Rockland Drainage Agency at 845-638-5081.