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Walter on Flooding: 'That's Mother Nature's Parking Lot'

With every storm, the Peconic Riverfront parking lot floods. But, while Sean Walter said little can be done, not everyone agrees.

Whenever Mother Nature whallops downtown Riverhead with a hurricane or major storm, the parking lot near the Peconic Riverfront becomes inundated with floodwaters.

After the most recent storm, Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean Walter acknowledged the problem but said little can be done to remedy the situation. Not all town board members, however, agree -- and are seeking a solution.

"That's Mother Nature's parking lot," Walter said. "It would be very difficult and very expensive to do anything about it."

Of the problem, Walter said, "It's been like this forever."

If bulkheading were to be raised, Walter said, it would have to be done uniformly, including on the Southampton Town side of the river.

"I don't know if that's something you could engineer -- that doing something like that wouldn't affect something else," he said. 

Other ideas that have presented include pumping water out into the Southampton Town side of the river, Walter said. 

"I just don't see that being a viable solution," he said. "It's the proverbial, 'It is what it is.'"

But other town board members believe a solution could be possible.

After a meeting with National Disaster Recovery Framework representatives recently, and discussing federal programs the town could utilize to become proactive in preventing future storm damage, Councilwoman Jodi Giglio said she met Friday with a company, Orange Industries, an authorized dealer of Muscle Wall, a removable, reusable flood protection barrier system with an eye toward flood mitigation.

Giglio said she and other town staffers met with representatives of the company, which uses a "muscle wall" to contain areas such as hospitals and protect them from flooding.

The goal, Giglio said, would be to provide an inexpensive solution to retail stores and other businesses downtown and protect them from flooding, as well as protect sewer district infrastructure and other flood-prone sites around town that have been damaged in the past.

Representatives of the company are slated to come before the town board and give a full presentation regarding Muscle Wall at a work session soon.

knowitall March 09, 2013 at 07:15 PM
Jody Giglio chases topics like a dog chases squirrels or tennis balls. This is her topic du jour. Sure enough, she'll forget it very soon.

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