West Haverstraw officials and residents say state's infrastructure causes flooding

West Haverstraw Public Works crews used equipment to suck out dirt and debris from a catch basin on Hurd Avenue, trying to prepare it to be able to handle more water during the night.

Ben Nandy

Mar 6, 2024, 11:26 PM

Updated 39 days ago

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Tenants at a West Haverstraw apartment building carry out the same routine a few times a year when they expect massive flooding.
Wooden barriers are reinforced by sandbags to keep water from the ground floor, cars are moved to higher ground and old clothes are laid out in case they need to run outside to manually unclog a storm drain.
Ahead of Wednesday's expected rainfall, West Haverstraw Public Works crews used equipment to suck out dirt and debris from a catch basin on Hurd Avenue, trying to prepare it to be able to handle more water during the night.
They were unable to clean out shallow catch basins that village officials said are most to blame for the regular flooding episodes, since they do not have the authority.
Catch basins on State Route 202 at Hurd Avenue are owned by the state.
Only the State Department of Transportation can perform any repairs to the drainage system on Route 202.
West Haverstraw DPW workers said Wednesday the Route 202 catch basins overflow easily, leading to water pooling around the apartment building and behind a nearby convenience store.
Tenant Victor Cosme was planning for a stressful evening, arranging wooden barriers and elevating any valuable personal belongings. He said the sudden flooding happens a few times a year. The last major flooding event was in January when a woman was temporarily trapped in her apartment, Cosme said.
"I have to come out here in the middle of the night to make sure my aunt's not getting water [in her apartment]," he said. "I have the boilers in the back ... so we don't know what else to do."
Officials with the state Department of Transportation previously told News 12 the drains were rebuilt last year, tested and verified positive water flow.
West Haverstraw Mayor Robert D'Amelio said Wednesday that the villages of Haverstraw and West Haverstraw received grant funding to perform their own study of the Route 202 corridor.
D'Amelio expects the study will help determine methods to fix or improve the state's drainage infrastructure, and he plans to share those findings with the DOT.


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