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 Successfully Urged FEMA To Agree To Final Project Plan That Would Fix Damaged Reservoir & Build it Back Stronger To Prevent Future Flooding 

First $436K In FEMA Funding Will Pay for Removal of Dead Trees, Sediment, & Other Debris; Schumer Vows to Continue Pushing For Approval of Final $829K That Will Allow Gowanda To Complete Repairs 

Schumer: First Installment of Fed Funding Will Be Signed, Sealed, Delivered & I Will Not Stop Fighting Until Check For Second Portion of Funding Is In The Mail

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today announced the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has approved $436,493.50 in federal funding that will allow the Village of Gowanda to begin repairs on the Point Peter Reservoir System, which was severely damaged by the May 2014 flooding. Schumer said this first chunk of funding will allow the village to begin debris removal at the reservoir in particular, and he will not stop fighting until the second portion of funding, which will pay for repairs to the reservoir, is signed, sealed and delivered to Gowanda as well. Schumer said the second installment of $829,814.83 is needed and final approval is currently pending at FEMA. Earlier this month, Schumer announced FEMA had finally agreed to a framework with the Village of Gowanda that would allow it to provide the funding needed to repair the Point Peter Reservoir. Schumer said this is great news for the Village of Gowanda and he will continue urging FEMA to expeditiously approve the second portion of funding so these repairs can get underway and be finished as soon as possible. The $436,493.50 in total costs approved by FEMA includes a 75-25 federal-local cost-share. This funding will pay for debris removal at the Point Peter Reservoir, including the removal of dead trees, sediment, and other debris. The second installment of funding, which is currently going through the final review process, will fund repairs to the reservoir.

“After months of red tape, we were finally able to break through the bureaucracy and have FEMA approve this first installment of more than $430,000 in funding that the Village of Gowanda desperately needs to remove debris and begin its restoration of the Peter Point Reservoir,” saidSchumer. “I am pleased to announce the village will finally see its check for this first portion of funding in the mail, and I will continue fighting tooth and nail to ensure the additional funding needed to complete repairs is signed, sealed and delivered as soon as possible. This combined federal funding will allow the Village of Gowanda to build back stronger than before and guard against damage in future storms.”

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. Earlier this month, Schumer said an agreement between FEMA and the Village of Gowanda on a path forward brought the project one step closer to getting underway. Schumer vowed to continue pushing until the final approval and funding amount was agreed to, so Gowanda could receive the funding needed to rebuild and repair.

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. 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.

Since the 2014 storm, 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.

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 original 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


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