WNYT.com

DEP agrees to lower water levels before Hurricane Sandy

Posted at: 10/26/2012 5:47 PM
Updated at: 10/26/2012 6:01 PM
By: Dan Bazile

SCHOHARIE COUNTY - Yesterday, NewsChannel 13 got a report that the Gilboa Dam was full and work to rebuild it had been called off.

So, we asked New York City DEP if they were going to lower water levels in advance of Hurricane Sandy.

Tonight, they issued a response, saying that's exactly what they'll do to make sure people are safe.

Assemblyman Pete Lopez is calling this a team effort to get the New York City DEP to lower water levels at the dam.

He says it's going to help if sandy carries its powerful punch all the way up to Schoharie County. But that's not the only officials and residents are doing to prepare.

For 28-year-old Lucas Coons and many other Village of Schoharie residents, a major storm is the last thing they need as they continue to recovery from the last storm that devastated the community.

The last time, about 14 months ago, tropical storms Irene and lee caused a massive flood -- nearly destroying the house where coons grew up.

He took over the home from his parents soon after the water receded and has been renovating it ever since.

"Every paycheck I've had for the last four months went right through this house, either a bill or supplies for the house," said Coons.

Coons says there isn't much he can do to prepare for a possible second round with Hurricane Sandy.

He and others are concerned and they're worried about the Gilboa Dam because the village is downstream from the dam.

Assemblyman Pete Lopez says he cannot control hurricane sandy. However, he and other leaders from the state and county are monitoring the dam that's already filled to capacity from a wet October and they have agreed to draw down some water to relieve pressure.

The fire department, the highway department and the emergency management team are all on standby -- they're preparing for possible evacuation.

Schoharie county leaders say they feel they'll be more prepared this time around than with Irene.