Schumer Previously Pushed FEMA to Swiftly Approve Hazard Mitigation Grant for Cobleskill’s High-Priority Water Supply Project

Increasing Protection for Three Water Reservoirs in Cobleskill Will Protect Water Supply for Residents & Reduce Flooding in Village and Surrounding Areas

Federal Funds Will Allow Village to Improve Water Treatment Plant & Dow Reservoir, Dredge & Repair Cobleskill’s Dam Spillway

Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer announced that, after his push, the Village of Cobleskill in Schoharie County will receive $2,325,000 in federal funds to make repairs to its water supply system and water treatment plant. Schumer explained that this funding will be allocated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s  (FEMA) Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) and provide a significant portion of the total funding for this water system improvement project. The total cost of the project is $3.1 million and will implement necessary mitigation measures to protect the water supply and reduce flooding in the Cobleskill Water System. Schumer explained that Cobleskill is home to three major water reservoirs that need these improvements, as well as a water treatment plant in desperate need of repairs. The project makes improvements to the water treatment plant and Dow Reservoir as well as dredge and repair Cobleskill’s dam spillway.

“This water supply project brings many benefits to Village of Cobleskill residents, from preventing future flood damage, to repairing the water treatment plant and Dow Reservoir, to protecting the water supply,” said Schumer.  “I am proud to announce that FEMA has heeded my call and will disperse these funds quickly so that Cobleskill can put people to work on these vital repairs and upgrades. These funds will not only better protect the Village of Cobleskill from future flood damage but also lift a massive financial burden off local taxpayers’ shoulders.”

In February of this year, Schumer urged FEMA to swiftly approve funding for this water supply improvement project, which is critical to Schoharie County and the Capital Region. Schumer explained that the State of New York identified this Capital Region project as a top priority for FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program and will now expedite funds to Cobleskill so that the project can get underway. The HMGP program provides grants to states and local governments to implement long-term hazard mitigation measures after a major disaster declaration. The purpose of the HMGP is to reduce the loss of life and property due to natural disasters and to enable mitigation measures to be implemented during the immediate recovery from a disaster. The HMGP is authorized under Section 404 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act.

Schumer initially wrote to FEMA on behalf of three major Capital Region HMGP projects, including the Village of Cobleskill water supply project, the City of Troy Seawall project, and City of Amsterdam retaining wall project at Dove Creek. The City of Troy applied for $6.7 million in federal funds to begin the construction of its seawall stabilization project; those funds have were secured by Senator Schumer in July of 2014. The City of Amsterdam applied for funds to support a $1.5 million project for the demolition and removal of damaged retaining walls along Dove Creek.

A copy of Senator Schumer’s initial letter to FEMA Administrator Fugate appears below:

Dear Administrator Fugate,

I write in strong support of three Hazard Mitigation Grant Program applications currently at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for review. The following projects are essential to the communities involved and the protective measures proposed would have a tremendous impact in preventing future flooding and infrastructure damage as well as encouraging waterfront development:

·         Protective measures for three water reservoirs in the Village of Cobleskill, NY as well as improvements to the village’s water treatment plant (Total cost of $3.1 million): This project would put in place necessary mitigation measures to protect the water supply and reduce flooding in the Cobleskill Water System. The Cobleskill Water System includes three water surface reservoirs and this project would make improvements to the water treatment plant and Dow Reservoir as well as dredge and repair Cobleskill’s dam spillway.

·         Seawall stabilization project for the City of Troy (Total cost of $9.03 million): The City of Troy’s seawall is in dire need of repairs and without this critical funding poses a tremendous risk to the community and the Hudson River. Over the past 30 years increased ice flows, erosion, severe flooding during Tropical Storm Irene, and other natural elements have dramatically deteriorated the condition of the seawall. A pipe carrying raw sewage runs within 15 to 25 feet of the seawall and if the seawall is compromised it would risk a failure of that sewer line and potentially cause an environmental disaster in the Hudson River. Furthermore, the City of Troy is concurrently planning $27 million in construction along the waterfront to develop the area and provide more housing opportunities to a community experiencing an economic revitalization. A compromised seawall would hurt this development as well as threaten the foundations of nearby buildings. In addition to necessary repairs, the project would fund the encasement of the Seawall in corrugated steel to enhance its resilience.

·         Demolition and removal of damaged retaining walls along Dove Creek in Amsterdam, NY (Total Cost of $1.5 million): This project would prevent future flooding by demolishing and removing damaged retaining walls on Dove Creek and replace them with stackable concrete retaining walls. The City of Amsterdam has faced record floods in recent years, and the condition of its retaining walls has drastically deteriorated. If the effects of erosion and crumbling retaining walls were left unchecked, the City would experience further flooding and infrastructure problems down the road.

Given that the State of New York has given these projects top priority by being among the first projects submitted to FEMA for final review and approval, the significance of these projects and the effect they would have on mitigating future damage in New York’s Capital Region is substantial. I urge you to approve them swiftly so that the work on these essential mitigation measures can commence.

Thank you for your attention to this matter. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me or my staff.


Charles E. Schumer

U.S. Senator


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