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Supervisors voice concerns over post-flood issues

Route 9N, a road that connects several area towns between Keene and Upper Jay, was one of many roads that was destroyed by flooding.

Route 9N, a road that connects several area towns between Keene and Upper Jay, was one of many roads that was destroyed by flooding. Photo by Keith Lobdell.

— Members of the Essex County Board of Supervisors discussed several issues pertaining to problems related to post-Tropical Storm Irene cleanup and recovery during a visit from Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Community Relations Manager Don Hawkins during the Sept. 26 Ways and Means Committee meeting.

While several issues did not pertain directly to FEMA, several supervisors wanted it known what their towns were now facing.

Board Chair and Jay Supervisor Randall “Randy” Douglas said that his main concern is the state of the Ausable River and the potential for flooding in the future due to erosion from the last three flooding events.

“There is definitely some research that needs to be done on the Ausable and the streams that flow into it,” Douglas said. “I understand that environmental groups are concerned about having machinery in the rivers, but I have to do what is best for the public safety of the people in my town and in my county.”

Douglas said that, due to the changed shape of the Ausable from the recent storms, he fears that it will be easier for a flood event to happen in Jay in the spring when the winter thaw happens.

“I was told by an anonymous source that it would take about 10 years to do a study on the river and then to start the work,” Douglas said. “These people do not even have 10 months before the next chance for flooding, and it is not going to take much next spring. The river’s course and flow has changed because of what has happened this year.”

Essex County Emergency Services Director Donald Jaquish said that he did have a preliminary study from the Army Corps of Engineers concerning the river. Jaquish also said that the EPA was currently working on hazardous waste removal in the local rivers and streams.

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