SCHUMER ANNOUNCES, FOLLOWING HIS MULTIPLE PUSHES, FEMA AGREES TO FINAL RESERVOIR REPAIR PLAN WITH VILLAGE OF GOWANDA – SCHUMER VOWS TO FIGHT TO GET FINAL PROJECT FUNDING OVER THE FINISH LINE, WHICH WILL REPAIR DAMAGE FROM 2014 FLOOD, REDUCE CHANCE OF FUTURE FLOOD DAMAGE & HELP AVOID COSTLY BATTLE AGAINST FLOOD WATERS YEAR AFTER YEAR
Village Has Been Unable To Use Reservoir Since 2014 Disaster & Has Been Relying On A Back-Up Well To Provide Water For Local Residents At A Major Cost To The Village
Schumer Says FEMA & Village Agreed on Final Project Plan To Fix Damaged Reservoir & Build it Back Stronger To Prevent Future Flooding – Project is Estimated at $800K; Schumer Vows to Fight For Final Approval So Critical Project Can Get Underway
Schumer: Project Is First And Goal & On The 1-Yard Line – I Will Keep Pushing to Get it Into The End Zone
U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today announced the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has agreed to a framework with the Village of Gowanda that would finally allow it to repair the Point Peter Reservoir System, which was damaged by the May 2014 flooding. Schumer said this means the project ready for final approval, which is expected very soon. The current estimated cost of the project is approximately $800,000.
Schumer explained that storms in 2014 brought severe rain and flooding to Western New York, including Cattaraugus County and the Village of Gowanda. Roads were washed out, homes were flooded, and public buildings were severely damaged. The Point Peter Reservoir, which serves as the village’s main water reservoir, has remained unusable ever since. Village officials had been working with engineers to identify the problems and create a plan to get the reservoir back up and running. While the final application is still going through final reviews and needs final FEMA sign-off, Schumer said this agreement on a path forward brings the project one step closer to getting underway. Schumer therefore vowed to continue pushing until this final approval and funding amount is agreed to, and Gowanda receives the funding they need to rebuild.
“The news that FEMA and the Village of Gowanda have agreed to a framework that will allow it to fund the repair and rebuilding of the Peter Point Reservoir means we are one giant step closer to the finish line. This project is first and goal from the two-yard line – and I will be fighting tooth and nail to push it across the goal line and make this project a reality,” saidSchumer. “When flood waters overtook roads, homes and destroyed this reservoir, it was a huge blow the community. This federal funding – once given the final stamp of approval that we are pushing for – will finally allow federal funds to flow into the Village of Gowanda so it can repair its reservoir and guard against damage in future storms.”
The May 2014 flood came as the Village of Gowanda was still rebuilding from an even worse flood in 2009. When the 2014 floods overtook the area, it made the recovery process even more difficult for local officials, as previous damages were exacerbated. In addition, because the reservoir has not been available for more than a year, the village has remained under a state of emergency. During this time, the village has received its drinking water from a single backup well, which Schumer said is not a sustainable option. Schumer said the area surrounding the reservoir also requires a significant amount of cleanup and removal of debris. Currently, there are dead trees, trash, and sediment, all of which block and disrupt the path of water in the reservoir rendering it unusable and creating further damage.
In June, Schumer visited Cattaraugus County and the Peter Point Reservoir to push FEMA to approve the federal funds the Village of Gowanda needs to rebuild its reservoir and make it stronger in order to avoid future flood damage. Today, Schumer said FEMA and the Village of Gowanda have agreed to a framework that brings this project one step closer to the finish line. Schumer vowed to continue fighting to see this project and its final costs are approved as soon as possible, so the village can begin this massive repair project – which is currently estimated to cost $800,000. Schumer has said he will fight to ensure that the Village of Gowanda has access to vital FEMA funding to make repairs and prevent further damage from future disasters.
As of June 2015, the Point Peter Reservoir System required the following repairs and replacements:
- Catwalk bridge over atop the dam was completely destroyed and needs to be entirely replaced;
- South wall was washed out in some areas and needs to be replaced;
- Replacement of ladder access to the valves at the Gate House;
- Construct the access road that was washed out;
- Stabilize the soil to prevent future washouts;
- Replace the stop logs for temporary damming of the springs; and
- Reinforce the banks for the reservoir.
A copy of Senator Schumer’s initial letter to FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate appears below:
Dear Administrator Fugate:
I write to urge the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to expeditiously review and approve the Village of Gowanda’s application for funding to repair the Point Peter Reservoir System, which was damaged by the May 2014 flooding.
In May 2014, severe storms in Western New York brought heavy rain and flooding to Cattaraugus County, including the Village of Gowanda. In Gowanda and the surrounding towns, roads were washed out and closed, homes and yards were flooded, and other critical pieces of public infrastructure were seriously damaged. The heavy rains caused the Point Peter Brook and Allen Spring to overflow, causing severe damage to the Point Peter Reservoir System.
The Point Peter Reservoir, which serves as the village’s main water reservoir, has remained out of operation while village officials have worked with engineers to identify the scope of work and necessary repairs. Because the reservoir has remained inoperable for more than a year, the village has also remained under a state of emergency. During that time, the village has gotten its water from a single backup well, which is not a sustainable option. It is in the residents’ best interest that this project move forward as soon as possible so that the village can once again utilize the Point Peter Reservoir.
I understand that Gowanda recently submitted to FEMA a request for funding to repair the Peter Point Reservoir System, which also included a hazard mitigation proposal to help prevent damages from future flooding events. As you know, the Point Peter Reservoir was also severely damaged by the summer 2009 flooding, and I commend the village for their foresight in incorporating hazard mitigation plans in their proposal. Because of the time-sensitive need to get this important piece of infrastructure back up and running, I urge you to review and approve the village’s request for funding as soon as possible.
Thank you for your attention to this critical project. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me or my staff.
Charles E. Schumer
United States Senator