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Chautauqua County cleans up after a day of flooding

SILVER CREEK – It was cleanup day Wednesday in northern Chautauqua County after five inches of rain in a two-hour period on Tuesday caused significant flooding from Silver Creek to Westfield. 

“We are in recovery mode,” said Hanover Highway Superintendent Steve D’Angelo, who said his crews were clearing out drain areas and checking for more damage.  He drove one of the large trucks up to doorways in Silver Creek and helped get residents to higher ground on Tuesday afternoon.

One day after the torrential rain storm, leaders from communities across the county were assessing the damage. 

Silver Creek 

Silver Creek Mayor Nick Piccolo said he canceled the day’s summer youth program in the ballpark because the footbridge on one end of the park was damaged due to debris in the creek. 

“We had 20-inch-wide logs and trees flowing with the force of water through the creek,” he said.

He said that 12 families left their homes in areas of Rix Place, Lincoln Avenue, and near Parkway in the village. Piccolo said everyone had returned to their homes on Wednesday and cleanup was in process. “We will try to get fire trucks out to hose away the silt and mud from driveways,”  he said.

The village’s sewer treatment plant was not damaged during the heavy rains but the village offices were evacuated.  Piccolo said that the municipal building had about two feet of water in the basement but the flood waters did not damage the offices or the fire equipment.  

State Department of Transportation crews were cleaning up Route 5 in the village on Wednesday. 

Town of Hanover

Highway Superintendent Steve D’Angelo said Overheiser Road appeared to have the most damage. He said crews were checking to see how much of the road was washed away during the heavy rain. 

The highway crews also were clearing storm drains and ditches that were blocked with the debris that was forced through the area with heavy water flows. 

One boat dock at the town’s launch in Sunset Bay also was damaged.  D’Angelo said Cattaraugus Creek and other waterways had strong currents and a lot of debris. “I would not recommend that anyone launch a boat for a few days,” he said. 

Dunkirk 

In Dunkirk, the Public Works Department was clearing drains on Wednesday. Mayor A.J. Dolce said that some streets were closed during the heavy rains but all were re-opened by early evening.  Brigham Road, Lucas Avenue and Woodrow Avenue were all closed temporarily due to flooding.  

Dolce said several residents had flooded basements. Clearing storm drains was a priority for DPW workers.

Fredonia 

Fredonia’s major damage was to a brand new culvert that was installed beneath Hamlet Street near Canadaway Creek. The four-foot-wide pipe was washed away, according to Mayor Steven Keefe.  He did not have a cost estimate on the damage but anticipated that expenses would be several thousand dollars just for the pipe and materials. 

Keefe said that five cars parked near Hamlet Street were damaged with flood water that was as high as their windshields. 

“We evacuated Forest Place homes,” he said. He said the flood waters got up to the homes but receded before it went inside. Several basements were flooded. 

“We were saved by Steve St. George who brought in heavy equipment,” said Keefe. He said the contractor brought in equipment and removed trees from the creek during the heavy rain on Tuesday.  “He pulled out trees and logs from the water street bridge and helped keep them from jamming up,” said Keefe. 

Brocton

Brocton Mayor Dave Hazelton said the major issue in his village was on Lake Avenue. “It is County Road 380 and known as Lake Avenue in the village,” he said. There are two railroad viaducts on the road  damaged by water that washed out the surface, the mayor said.  The road remains closed at the railway bridges until damage can be repaired. 

Hazelton said that a power pole and sewer line had to be stabilized because of the surface damage on Lake Avenue. 

The water system was not damaged during the rain and the mayor said it is still producing safe and treated drinking water.  One resident had their power turned off due to water damage in the basement and another customer has no water due to problem with water lines. 

Brocton residents will be able to have a curbside pickup of items damaged in the flood. The mayor said he anticipates starting the public pickup service on Monday and continuing throughout the week as residents remove damaged items. 

Westfield

Westfield residents are asked to use strict water conservation measures while repairs are made to the water treatment facility.  The village’s storage tanks have a two day supply.  The Chautauqua County Health Department  has issued a conservation order for residents while repairs and testing are done. 

Village Administrator Vincent Luce said only residents west of Walker Road in the village’s system are required to boil their water. The problem may have been due to a line that became separated during the heavy rain on Tuesday.  Other residents may notice some discoloration to their water due to the problems. 

“Our main problem is sewer lines collapsing due to damage,” said Luce. He said some residential sewer lines have had to be pumped out.   

“We have not had a flood like this since 1917,” said Luce. “Hopefully, we are done for another 100 years,” he added. 

Several fire departments from throughout Western New York responded to Chautauqua County area to help residents by pumping out flooded basements.