02.25.16

SCHUMER ANNOUNCES, FOLLOWING HIS PUSH, VILLAGE OF GOWANDA WILL RECEIVE CRITICAL SECOND INSTALLMENT OF FED FUNDING NEEDED TO REPAIR POINT PETER RESERVOIR – SCHUMER SUCCESSFULLY SECURED FINAL $830K, AFTER SECURING INITIAL $430K NEEDED FOR DEBRIS REMOVAL

Village Has Been Unable To Use Reservoir Since 2014 Disaster & Has Been Relying On Other Means To Provide Water For Local Residents – At A Major Cost To The Village; Schumer Successfully Secured First $436K In FEMA Funding to Pay for Removal of Dead Trees, Sediment & Other Debris 

Schumer Now Secures Final $829K That Will Finally Allow Gowanda To Complete Repairs & Build Back Stronger Than Ever – Repairs Will Include Replacement of South Wall, Construction of Access Roads, Reinforcements of Banks & More

Schumer: Gowanda’s Check for $830K To Finish Dam Repairs is Signed, Sealed and About To Be Delivered 

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today announced the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has approved a total project cost of $829,814.83 that will allow the Village of Gowanda to complete repairs on the Point Peter Reservoir System, which was severely damaged by the May 2014 flooding. In November, Schumer successfully secured the first piece of funding – a total project cost of $436,493.50 – that allowed the village to begin debris removal at the reservoir, including the removal of dead trees, sediment and other debris. Schumer said this second installment of nearly $830,000 in total costs approved by FEMA includes a 75-25 federal-local cost-share. The federal share for the repairs is $622,361.12.

“Plain and simple: this check for $830K to finally finish the Peter Point reservoir repairs is great news for the Village of Gowanda. After too much time wading through bureaucratic morass, this second installment of FEMA funding will finally allow the Village to make desperately needed repairs at the reservoir,” said Schumer. “This has been a long fight, and I was proud to secure the first installment of funding to begin removing debris from the reservoir. With the final check now signed, sealed and about to be delivered, the Village of Gowanda will be able to build back stronger than ever 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. After the flooding, village officials had been working with engineers to identify the problems and create a plan to get the reservoir back up and running. In June of 2015, when the Village was waiting for response and action from FEMA, Schumer visited the reservoir and pushed the agency to get back to work and swiftly approve the project. FEMA heeded his call, and in November 2015, Schumer announced an agreement between FEMA and the Village of Gowanda that put this project on a path forward. Later in November, Schumer announced FEMA approved the first installment of $436,493.50 in funding that allowed the Village of Gowanda to begin repairs on the Point Peter Reservoir System. Schumer vowed to continue pushing until all of the necessary funding is in place.

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, the previous damage was exacerbated, making the cost and recovery process even more difficult. Because the reservoir has not been available for more than a year, the village has remained under a state of emergency.

“Senator Schumer has been working with the Village of Gowanda since the first disastrous flood in 2009, and he stepped up to help again in 2014,” said Village of Gowanda Mayor Heather McKeever. “This funding will allow us to finally fix our reservoir with needed mitigation, and we are grateful for the Senator’s continued advocacy.”

Since the 2014 storm, the village has received its drinking water from a single backup well, as the surrounding springs, which Village officials have said are not sustainable options, and are costly to taxpayers. Schumer said the area surrounding the reservoir required a significant amount of cleanup, including the removal of debris, dead trees, trash and sediment, all of which has blocked and disrupted the path of water in the reservoir rendering it unusable and creating further damage. The two installments of funding approved by FEMA, totaling over $1.2 million with a 75-25 cost-share, will allow the village to complete important repairs to the reservoir and build back stronger than before.

This final installment of critical funding will allow the Point Peter Reservoir System to complete the following repairs and replacements, which will make the facility significantly more resistant to flood damage:

·         Clean the reservoir to pre-flood conditions;

·         Upgrade the bypass channel and intake structure ;

·         Modify the fore-bay, install rip-rap at various locations;

·         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.

Sincerely,

Charles E. Schumer

United States Senator

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