Updated 05/21/2012 10:47 PM
Utica, Deerfield to dredge together
Fixing the damage from last year's flooding has been a major cost to taxpayers across Central New York. Now the City of Utica and the Town of Deerfield are facing an additional issue in their cleanup efforts: Who pays for a problem in one town that causes flooding in another? Our Andrew Sorensen talked with both municipalities as they try to sort out the issue.
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UTICA, N.Y. -- The creek running through Ronald Vincent's yard is just one of North Utica's creeks that have serious flooding problems.
"It's flooding out all of our neighbors' swimming pools, their utility sheds, their basements," Vincent said before a meeting about the flooding Monday night.
The problem is even worse with the trash and other debris flowing down from the Town of Deerfield.
"I've had tires come down through here, picnic tables, deer carcasses," said Vincent.
The problem eventually got so bad that the City of Utica took it upon itself to put in pipes to keep debris from flowing further down the creek. The poles are meant to catch the debris, but it's still such a big issue that Vincent took it up with the City of Utica and Town of Deerfield. The trouble is, neither one is technically responsible.
"Most of the properties are privately owned and [we] have a difficult time to access and clean ravines," City of Utica Deputy Engineer Goran Smiljic said.
But this year, as a onetime deal, Utica and Deerfield are working together to dredge and clean out the debris if property owners allow them in.
"We'll get them out," Town of Deerfield Supervisor Scott Mahardy said. "The problem is we've got to find the root of the problem. Who's dumping this stuff? And make them accountable."
And to combat part of the dumping problem, Deerfield just switched to requiring containers for green waste.
"That runoff gets into there, it fills the ditches up and then the water just flows over them and it doesn't follow the course it's supposed to," Mahardy said.
Utica's Engineering and Public Works departments can only estimate they will complete the project sometime this summer. Meaning residents along the creek may have to just hope this summer is a dry one.
Utica's Department of Public Works is already working on the following streets: Elmdale, Elmhurst, Lee Boulevard and at 1414 Herkimer Road. They plan to work on the intersection of Brody Drive and Herkimer Road.
The Engineering Department is contracting out work at the North Utica Park's creek, the Mapledale Hole Creek and the drainage areas on Beaton Drive and Cedarbrook Crescent. They will also be looking at work along Roseclair Avenue.