The town may be allowed to deepen Donner Creek to alleviate flooding in residential areas near the stream, Supervisor Marc R. Smith said during a Town Board work session this week.
Smith said an agreement was made with the state Department of Environmental Conservation in the wake of an Oct. 30 meeting in Town Hall with affected residents whose properties are repeatedly flooded by the creek after heavy rains or snowmelts.
Smith said the DEC, which had resisted any movement of soil along the creek, will probably allow the town to increase its capacity by doing some cleaning, not by widening the channel.
"It's all filled in," Smith said. "Rather than being four or 5 feet deep, it's 18 inches deep."
It's not a done deal yet, said Mark Hans, DEC regional solid materials engineer.
"We're still looking for more information before we decide whether to issue the permit," he said.
Town Engineer Robert D. Klavoon said a survey of creek elevations in July was compared with those found in a 1976 survey and showed the creek's capacity has been substantially reduced in the past three decades.
Edmund Quinones of Hamm Road, who has lived near the creek since 1959, said at the Oct. 30 meeting that the creek seemed to be about 4 feet wide then, but since then it's widened to 50 to 70 feet in spots.
Smith said, "The DEC has been steadfast: They are not going to allow us to change the floodplain."
Klavoon's firm, Wendel Duchscherer, is to be paid $25,000 to $35,000 to analyze possible improvements and their impact not only on residential areas but on drainage in the City of Lockport upstream and the Town of Pendleton downstream. That doesn't include detailed design of projected improvements.
Klavoon said some $10,000 to $12,000 worth of the work may already have been covered through the town's annual retainer to Wendel Duchscherer.
"We need to do that analysis as to how quickly the water's going to flow," Klavoon said. "Are we talking $50,000 in improvements or are we talking $1 million worth of improvements?"
Smith said Pendleton "is not going to stand in our way, but we're not going to send them increased flows and push the problem onto their property."
Smith and Klavoon told the board the plan is to create a creek bed that can handle a "10-year" rain event -- a storm of a magnitude that could be reasonably expected no more than once a decade.
Klavoon said, "We are not solving the flooding problem. We are looking to mitigate the impact."
He said the analysis will include a look at existing retention ponds, off Beattie Avenue and Royal Parkway North. Smith said they are supposed to accept incoming water from the flood plain through one pipe and drain it out slowly through another pipe, but neither the inlets nor the outflows work properly.
On another drainage matter, Klavoon said the new sewer pump station for East High Street has been delivered and will be installed by Jan. 1. Landscaping and grass restoration at the site will have to wait until spring.