BY MICHAEL RICONDA
Suffern – More than two years after Hurricane Irene and more than a year after Hurricane Sandy, homeowners affected by repeated flooding might finally have some protection against the frequent overflow of the Mahwah River.
In June, Ramapo filed a letter of intent to the New York Rising Community Reconstruction Program flood remediation funding. In the letter, the town outlined the history and previous damage from flood problems, insurance and personal costs and the chance of recurrence.
After months of waiting, there seems to be some action. The letter of intent was approved for consideration in October and both local and state officials are now pushing for the approval of a $3.5 million request to finance the construction of a siphoning system at Lake Antrim.
“We’re hoping to receive that money soon,” Concerned Citizens of Suffern member and flood remediation advocate Roy Tschudy explained.
Flooding has been a major issue on the Mahwah River, particularly in low-lying areas by the river such as the Squire’s Gate Community, where several homes were deemed uninhabitable due to water damage sustained during Irene and Sandy.
The siphoning system, which was designed by Brooker Engineering of Suffern, is meant to draw water from Lake Antrim to level off the Mahwah River. The water would be released incrementally as flooding conditions disappear.
Funding is also being sought at the county level, where Legislators Alden Wolfe and Ilan Schoenberger have pushed to appropriate funds for the project. Though no final timeline has been established, Tschudy explained the hope was that adequate funds would be available by Spring.
“If you couple the two, the 3.5 million we are hoping to receive with whatever funds we received from this legislative effort, this should be more than enough to cover the implementation of the river project we are trying to do,” Tschudy said.
According to Jaffee, the request has since been changed to $5 million, but the state has recently asked for additional information from the Village of Suffern, an encouraging sign.
“We’re hopeful now that there will be a determination shortly,” Jaffee said. “We were pleased that at least there was a follow-up and there was a request for further information which indicated to us that they are reviewing the application.”