Port De­posit to vote on flood­ing mit­i­ga­tion study fund­ing



— Town of­fi­cials will vote next month on the ex­pen­di­ture of $35,000 to per­form a geotech­ni­cal as­sess­ment that would de­ter­mine how best to stop flood­ing.

pro­posal was dis­cussed at the Tues­day night work ses­sion.

Vicky Rinker­man, town ad­min­is­tra­tor, said she was un­suc­cess­ful in find­ing grant money for the pro­ject. In­stead, she said the fund­ing would have to come from the town.

The U.S. Army Corps of En­gi­neers sug­gested the as­sess­ment to de­ter­mine whether flood gates or slurry walls would be the best op­tion to hold back the Susque­hanna River at rail­road un­der­passes at Nutter’s Al­ley and Van­nort Drive.

”And the mud,” Coun­cil­man John Leeds said. “If it can keep the mud from com­ing through.”

With a his­tory of flood­ing events, Port De­posit res­i­dents know where the wa­ter in­vades and when. Once more than 15 crest gates are opened on the Conowingo Dam, the river starts creep­ing in, first on Route 222 north of town near the VFW post. Then, Ma­rina Park be­gins to dis-


In the last five years alone, Port De­posit res­i­dents have wit­nessed flood­ing and threats of flood­ing. While most town res­i­dents know the drill, this pickup truck was not moved to higher ground from the town lot across from Jef­fer­son Hall Apartments.

ap­pear. Folks liv­ing on the river side of Main Street know to start mov­ing prop­erty to higher lev­els. At 26 gates, emer­gency op­er­a­tions are es­tab­lished, and vol­un­tary evac­u­a­tions be­gin. Wa­ter be­gins to en­ter town through the rail­road un­der­passes.

Rinker­man said of­fi­cials from Nor­folk South­ern Rail­road were hes­i­tant to al­low the Corps to study their tracks and al­low con­struc­tion of the flood mit­i­ga­tion sys­tem.

”The rail­road is wor­ried about washout,” Mayor Wayne Tome said. “The wa­ter pres­sure is be­ing re-

leased by flow­ing through the town.”

Nor­folk South­ern fears if the gates hold back the wa­ter, the tracks could be com­pro­mised.

How­ever, Tome said the roadbed has been there so long, in spite of nu­mer­ous flood events since the con­struc­tion of the dam more than 80 years ago. The as­sess­ment could de­ter­mine if the roadbeds would hold up and also pro­tect Port De­posit.

”So much wa­ter and de­bris comes through there,” the mayor said. “The gates would save the town from in­un­da­tion.”

Re­sults of the as­sess­ment would also be used by the town as proof of need for the next step, which is grant money to pay for ei­ther flood gates or slurry walls.

”We need to do the study, pe­riod,” Rinker­man said. “You’re ad­dress­ing an is­sue that hap­pens again and again in town.”

There was dis­cus­sion among the coun­cil mem­bers on whether the ex­pense it­self was needed.

”Are we risk­ing $35,000 to see if the track ... can be cer­ti­fied?” Coun­cil­man Bob Kuhs asked.

Coun­cil­woman Kate Rodg- ers asked about the cost of the two op­tions. Rinker­man replied that the slurry walls would be ex­po­nen­tially more ex­pen­sive than the flood gates.

”We are not at a risk of los­ing $35,000,” Rinker­man said. “It’s what we need to move for­ward to fix this.”


In the last five years alone, Port De­posit res­i­dents have wit­nessed flood­ing and threats of flood­ing. Ma­rina Park off South Main Street is one of the first places to go un­der when the Susque­hanna River leaves her banks.


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