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Lessons From Irene: One Year Later, Rye Brook Officials

Rye Brook officials address the aftermath of Hurricane Irene.

Last year this time, residents of the Rye Patch community faced off with a wily, destructive opponent: Hurricane Irene.

Today Rye Patch checks in with local officials to find out what and how things have changed since Irene barged through the area. Earlier today, we posted Rye City Mayor Doug French's report and now we turn to Rye Brook.

We asked Mayor Joan Feinstein and Village Administrator to respond specifically to the developments that have taken place after Hurricane Irene regarding flood management in Rye Brook.

Rye Brook Mayor Joan Feinstein:

The Sluice Gate project has commenced and should be completed in the near future. The automated sluice gate will open and close based on water surface elevations, and will help with downstream flooding in the lower portion of Rye Brook as well as the City of Rye.

We provided information to our residents as to the FEMA process. The Village also make an application to FEMA for reimbursement. To my knowledge no Rye Brook business received any significant assistance from FEMA with respect to Hurricane Irene because they did not sustain substantial damage.

In the last 5-7 years we have implemented many projects to deal with flooding including the detention basin near Edgewood and Rich Manor Park, new drainage in the Loch Lane area and the installation of detention basins under the turf at the Rye Brook Athletic Field on King Street. The most significant project to be taken which would help immeasurably with downstream flooding would be a regional project---- a retention basin  upstream near SUNY Purchase. 

Christopher Bradbury, Rye Brook Village Administrator:

In order to improve efficiencies with emergency notifications to residents (not just in response to Irene), earlier this year the village improved its emergency notification system by changing from its prior phone notification service to a service called Nixle Pro. This change will allow all emergency messages to be sent more efficiently via phone, text and e-mail through the same provider. 

The village also approved the sluice gate project at the Bowman Avenue dam funded by the City of Rye, the Village of Rye Brook, and multiple grants.  This project is currently under construction and will help properties downstream of the dam in Rye Brook and Rye City.

The village tries to learn from the experiences of every storm, but the village had already pre-identified areas prone to flooding for notification purposes and had a protocol in place for addressing pre-storm preparations and post-storm response. The village is also looking forward to a new protocol being instituted by Con Edison that they expect will improve coordination of their response for public safety matters.

The village experienced significant flooding of basements and flooding in flood-prone areas along the Blind Brook.  The village also experienced power outages and trees down that had to be cleared.  The village’s engineering consultant reported at a Village Board meeting last year that the ground was already saturated and there was a significant amount of water in a short period of time that caused flooding. He added that if the detention basin had not been installed at Bluebird Hollow/Edgewood Drive in 2010 the water would have been four (4) inches higher causing more damage.  An additional modification was made to a pipe on Brook Lane.  The village is continuing to evaluate its flood-prone areas to make sure pipes are clear and to see if further improvements can help residents.

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