LOCKPORT – The damage to the city’s infrastructure caused in Friday’s flash flood qualified for reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, inspectors told Mayor Michael W. Tucker on Wednesday.
Tucker said the total value of reimbursable work was set at $800,000. The city will be able to obtain the money as long as the overall flood damage estimate for New York State tops the statewide $26 million threshold.
Niagara County’s minimum threshold was set at $745,000 to qualify for aid from this flood, and the city exceeded that level. There also was heavy damage from rainstorms in such eastern New York cities as Amsterdam, Utica and Oneida.
The mayor said it’s not known when Lockport will receive the reimbursements, if New York qualifies.
A FEMA official is expected to visit the city Monday to gather information about damage to private property. Tucker said about 600 basements were pumped out Friday night, and about 200 of those contained more than six feet of water.
Tucker said two state emergency management inspectors and one FEMA representative toured the city Wednesday with Norman D. Allen, director of engineering and public works.
Saturday, Tucker and Allen arrived at a damage estimate to public property of $1.2 million. “We estimated on the high side, because that’s what they told us to do,” Tucker said.
But Allen said FEMA didn’t allow all of that amount.
For example, the 7-foot sinkhole that opened in the pavement near the northern end of Gooding Street was one of the main items in the damage report.
Allen said FEMA will pay for the restoration of the pavement, but the city also planned other work to firm up the ground and prevent a possible recurrence of the sinkhole, which Allen had blamed on a collapsing storm sewer line. FEMA disallowed payments for the extra work, at least for now, Allen said.
“They may very well include that when the final design is done,” he said.
Allen said the hole was filled in Wednesday, and the street will be paved and the shoulders repaired Friday.
Pavement also was washed out on Water, William, Vine and Spring streets and Carlton Place.
The other major item in the FEMA reimbursement list was damage to the city’s sewage treatment plant by storm water that caused the plant to exceed its listed capacity and run at more than 13 times its average water load.
Allen said one of the two grit collectors, screens that block objects from going through, remains blocked.
“We’ll have to do a bypass system to get around it, dewater it and clean it,” Allen said. FEMA will reimburse the city for the cost.
FEMA wouldn’t allow the city to include the cost of repairing a broken water main on Willow Street, which was reopened to one lane of traffic Tuesday night near Beattie Avenue.
Although Allen blamed the broken pipe on flood-saturated soil giving way beneath the 12-inch main, FEMA said Allen couldn’t prove a direct connection.
FEMA allowed him to claim $200 each for 100 manhole covers.