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Mt. Pleasant to Hire Independent Engineering Firm to Study Flooding

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Mount Pleasant Supervisor Carl Fulgenzi

Mount Pleasant is expected to hire an outside engineering firm to help flood-prone areas of town that are frequently swamped by heavy rain.

Supervisor Carl Fulgenzi said last week he expects to retain the additional expertise of a firm that specializes in water management in the next few weeks to have them help the town’s extremely busy Engineering Department.

“I want to look at (undertaking) a study and figure out what we need to do to move forward and prevent the flooding in our low-lying areas that have been studied in the past but those studies didn’t go anywhere for whatever reason,” Fulgenzi said.

While Mount Pleasant was spared the worst of the flooding from the heavy rains on July 9 that inundated parts of northern Westchester and Putnam counties, an early afternoon deluge nine days later flooded some streets, parks and residents’ homes. Fulgenzi said it was possible that the ground was saturated from the storms the week before, making it difficult to accept the copious amounts of water that fell on July 18.

An announcement to hire an engineering firm was made at the Aug. 8 Town Board meeting, where several residents voiced their displeasure at the worsening floods in town. Some town residents have blamed new development or questioned whether the ongoing building in town is a factor in this summer’s flooding.

Myrtle Avenue resident Danel Blaise said even though there are new storm drains in some locations, by paving surfaces and adding concrete, the water is rushing around the drains.

“Is there something being done to capture all this water because we’re creating impervious river flows everywhere,” Blaise said. “Are we implementing a strategic management system and checking that it works?”

Fulgenzi responded that the town’s drainage has worked well for the past 50 to 70 years, and that applicants that have been approved for new development must design a system that has no runoff. However, the severity of the two rainfalls would tax any drainage system, he said.

“The second one the ground was saturated, and the ground couldn’t take the water anymore no matter what kind of drainage you design,” Fulgenzi said. “I’m not an engineer, but most everyone I’ve spoken to, no matter what you design it’s not going to handle that rainfall within 30, 40 minutes. It’s not going to work.”

Whittier Drive resident Angela Torrieri said last month was the second time in two years she was flooded. The nearby brook can’t handle that amount of water, and it overflows, running into residents’ backyards and homes, she said.

Town Engineer David Smyth said a project that will alleviate the flooding for the Whittier Drive properties is expected to be completed in October. The project will divert the high-generating stormwater into an independent system and carry that water away from the houses, he said.

Fulgenzi said it would be wrong to blame development because many of the areas in town that have had issues have experienced flooding over many years.

“That’s not the case,” he said of new development being the cause of flooding. “Everyone had stated that the drainage of the water issues on these properties exceeded what they were built for. You can’t have six to eight inches of rain in 25 minutes.”

The anticipated retention of an engineering firm came after Highway Superintendent Richard Benkwitt asked that his department’s budget be increased next year by about $4 million. The money would buy new equipment for repaving, drainage improvement, leaf pickup, snow removal, forestry and tree removal.

Last week, the town announced that applications opened for the state’s Flood Assistance Program that would provide up to $50,000 for certain types of repairs for eligible homeowners. Gov. Kathy Hochul’s office announced that the funding would be available in Westchester and Putnam along with six other counties that were impacted by the July storms.

For more information about the program and to apply, visit



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