Heavy rain has led to historic flooding in parts of the Adirondacks. Waters are receding, but the clean up and repairs will continue for some time as Adirondackers return to flooded homes and camps. Some will return to flooded outbuildings, destroyed docks and shoreline changes.
Building owners with flooded basements should check for sheens or odors from gasoline, oil or substances that may have leaked from fuel oil storage tanks, furnaces or motorized equipment before pumping out water.
If a sheen or odor is present, contact the DEC Spills Hotline at 1-800-457-7362. They can work with building owners to determine the most effective means to address the spill. If pumping is already occurring when sheens or odors are discovered, cease pumping immediately. A mixture of gasoline or oil and water can impact the surface water, ground water and soils when pumped and released into the environment. It is best to collect and remove spilled gasoline and oil while it is still contained in a basement.
Streambanks and Lake Shorelines
Property owners who have streams or shorelines which have been eroded or otherwise damaged by flooding should check with the DEC Environmental Permits Office before undertaking repair work to determine if a permit or emergency authorization is required. Projects for the purpose of shoreline restoration and erosion protection are subject to a permit application process.
Depending on the situation, work immediately necessary for the protection of life, health, general welfare, property or natural resources may be authorized under emergency authorization procedures. DEC provides a number of documents on its website to assist in developing a shoreline stabilization project:
Stream Crossings: Guidelines and Best Management Practices
Shoreline Stabilization Techniques
Applying for a Protection of Waters Permit
Sample General Site Plans for a Protection of Waters Permit
Sample General Project Plans for a Protection of Waters Permit
Photo: A camp floats down West Canada Creek on Nov. 1, 2019 (still from video).
Thanks for this helpful article on flooding in the Adirondacks. It’s great to have reliable and up-to-date information regarding the environment. Keep up the good work!