Monday, August 15, 2011

Wading in the Water - Part 2

Woke up this morning to what was a relatively minor kerfluffle dealing with an air conditioning unit that seemed to be a conduit for the rain outside to find that there are major sections of roads and areas of the city that frequently flood that we now accept as natural.

We have Amboy Road in Staten Island. There are avenues and boulevards that frequently overflow with water.
This is not new information. If there is a heavy downpour of rain, then these sections always experience flooding.

As reported on various media outlets, there are beautiful homes in Staten Island, whose basements are now flooded with water and sewage because of the overburdened sewer systems.

There are roads that are so concave from overworked, out off date sewers, that they turn into swimming pools in which motorists unfortunately feel they need to cross.

Last year in August, when there was a downpour of rain, a section of the Belt Parkway flooded. This year, in August, major downpour of rain, and surprise, a section of the Belt Parkway by Exit 13, is experiencing small lake like conditions. In fact, the FDR Expressway, is notorious, particularly under sections close to Sutton Place, for becoming mini swimming pools.

In Hoboken, the news cameras show pictures of the solution, we as a country in the 21st century use, sandbags. This same situation occurred last year and required engineers to come out to try to address the problem of erosion.

If there is new development but the sewer system is not upgraded - that's a problem.
If the solution to rising tide of a nearby lake is sandbags, which break and have proven ineffective time and again - that's a problem.
If the drainage system and sewer system can not handle heavy rain flow and the result is that basements are flooded, then the chance of becoming a breeding ground for all types of bacteria increases for families, particularly the most vulnerable - that's a problem.

A city trying to patch work a street, boulevard, avenue, highway or road is not enough. A state trying to eek out money so that again a patch work solution is presented is not enough. This requires federal intervention - lawmakers thinking about the good of the nation, of the states, cities and towns, and employing consistent level of laws about the quality of urban development. Sandbags can not substitute for a systematic method to protect coastal areas.

Time to have a flood control system for coastal areas. Time for Congress to do their job. One doesn't have to reinvent the wheel. The Netherlands are famous for the numerous strategies they have put into place to deal with all types of flooding.

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