BY MICHAEL RICONDA
SUFFERN – Suffern’s Village Board has made moves to prevent flooding in sensitive areas, angling to secure portable flood barriers for use not only in the village but countywide.
On July 8, the Village Board voted to submit a $150,000 capital funding request for the procurement of the barriers, which would be used to prevent the frequent flooding along the Mahwah and Ramapo Rivers in problem areas such as the Squire’s Gate community and Memorial Drive.
Though Suffern has been pushing for the barriers for months, the devices will be stored at the Fire Training Center in Pomona for county-wide use.
“The portable flood barrier would be a step in the right direction in protecting our village residents against future damage and devastation as well as restoring some confidence in Suffern’s capability to remediate flooding,” the request read.
The request passed almost unanimously through the Village Board, with only Mayor Patricia Abato refusing to sign. Funding is also expected to come through Rockland County, as the Legislature and county executive agreed in June on the purchase of a $150,000 bond for the flood barriers.
The barriers, made from a heavy, kevlar-like fabric, can be laid down in a variety of configurations to block or divert floodwater. After absorbing the water they remain weighed down and fixed in place, providing a low-labor, versatile substitute for sandbags.
During emergencies, the flood barriers would likely be deployed by the Suffern Fire Department, which will be trained in their use to not only contain flood waters but also certain chemical spills such as oil leaks.
The capital fund request has been submitted to State Senator David Carlucci and Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee for approval.