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Saturday, September 20, 2014
Canajoharie, NY ,

Joshua Thomas
The underground culvert system passing through Canajoharie Water Filtration Plant property in Palatine Bridge could not handle the heavy rain that fell two weeks ago -- nor could the rock-ditch surrounding the water table -- and the entire clean water system was covered with flood water, infiltrating and compromising the village's clean drinking water.

Joshua Thomas
While a stream usually passes underground through Canajoharie Water Filtration Plant property, emptying through the now-exposed culvert system, a surge of above-ground water washed out a large section of land during the storm that hit two weeks ago.

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Village Board hears treatment plant flood mitigation options

Wednesday, September 03, 2014 - Updated: 9:23 AM

By JOSHUA THOMAS

C-S-E Editor

CANAJOHARIE -- During Tuesday's Village Board of Canajoharie meeting, Chris Yacobucci, of LaMont Engineers, provided three scenarios and estimates for the prevention of future flood damage and infiltration at the Canajoharie Water Treatment Plant, located at the corner of Groff and Gerhartz roads, Palatine Bridge.

During the severe weather event that took place two weeks ago, two feet of water cascaded over Gerhartz road, bypassing the current drainage system, infiltrating the clear well that provides village water, also washing away a large chunk of land.

"The problem is, there's a choke point at Gerhartz Road. The water shed flows through the culvert at Gerhartz Rd. a quarter of a square mile," said Yacobucci, explaining that the water flows into two 20-inch steel culverts that run underground toward the treatment plant. The water then enters a catch basin and is transported into an 18 inch corrugated plastic pipe.

Usually, he said, drainage systems are designed for a hundred year flood event, which would bring 20 cubic feet of flow per second, or 90,000 gallons of water per minute. For comparison's sake, the East Hill storage tank holds 100,000 gallons of water, meaning that a hundred year flood event would bombard the treatment facility with 90 percent of that tank's capacity every minute.

After evaluating the two twenty inch culverts, Yacobucci said they're not sufficient size to handle such flow.

To rectify the problem entirely, Yacobucci first introduced scenario two, which would involve replacing the current system with a 30 foot long, seven foot high by ten foot wide metal pipe.

Work would also take place to relocate the stream, which currently curves to enter the two, twenty-inch pipes. It would be realigned to flow straight into the newly installed culvert.

As there must be a minimum of two feet of earth over the pipe, in order to keep it from failing, it would mean that a nine-foot ditch would run from the end of the culvert to the area where it currently discharges, meaning that a guide rail would need to be installed.

Heavy stone fill would be placed at the inlet and outlet, with medium stone fill being run for 150 feet, at the end of which there would be more heavy stone.

The total cost for this scenario, which would make sure that no water ever crosses Gerhartz Rd. above ground, is $241,000.

Yacobucci noted that if the village were to purchase material and equipment, and provide its own manpower, the material cost would be about $55,000.

Under option one, a four foot high, six foot wide culvert would be installed in addition to the current drainage system. The scenario would leave an inch or two of water flowing over Gerhartz Rd. during a hundred year flood event, with the new culvert acting as the primary drainage system, the current culverts providing backup.

The cost for that project would be $154,000. If the village does the work and purchases everything, they would pay between $30,000-$35,000 dollars.

The third scenario, which Yacobucci recommended against, would be to install a flood wall around the treatment plant to divert the water. No new culverts would be installed -- just a 90 foot long, 8 foot tall wall, with four foot buried and the other four above ground. The current drainage would also be extended under this plan, which would involve flood water cascading across Gerhartz Road and hitting the wall, where it would be diverted. The fact that it hit the wall, said Yacobucci, would mean that it would create turbulence, tearing up the road and sod.

While it was noted that the village could apply for Small Cities grant funding to help cover the cost, the next round of funding applications need to be submitted around April or May of 2015, with awards being announced around September. Money would not be awarded until 2016.

Mayor Francis Avery said that the village may have to pay for the project outright.

The board decided to review all three options in detail before making a final decision.

     

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