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Schumer urges FEMA to fund repairs to Gowanda reservoir

Sen. Charles E. Schumer is calling on the Federal Emergency Management Agency to do a quick review so that the Village of Gowanda can receive funding to repair the Point Peter Reservoir that was damaged during floods in May 2014.

“The Village of Gowanda has worked hard to study and plan a way forward to both repair their damaged reservoir, but also to prevent future damage,” he said Friday. “When floodwaters overtook roads, homes and destroyed the Point Peter Reservoir, it was a huge blow the community. Before the storm, the reservoir provided clean drinking water to all the residents in the Village of Gowanda.”

He said the Point Peter Reservoir, which serves as the village’s main water reservoir, has continued to be unusable. Village officials have been working on plans with engineers to find the source of the problems, as well as to create a plan to get the reservoir back in use.

Since the reservoir was damaged, the village has remained under a state of emergency and the village has received its drinking water from a single backup well. According to Schumer, that is not an option that can continue.

Severe storms that came through the area washed out roads, flooded homes and damaged some public buildings.

This was the second time in five years Gowanda was hit hard by a flood. The community was still in the rebuilding process from an even more severe flood that hit the area in 2009.

The Point Peter Reservoir System is in need of a number of repairs and replacements:

• The catwalk bridge over the dam was completely destroyed and needs to be entirely replaced.

• The south wall was washed out in some areas and needs to be replaced.

• The ladder access to the valves located at the gate house must be replaced.

• The access road that was washed out needs to be reconstructed.

• The soil needs to be stabilized to prevent future washouts.

• Logs temporary damming of the springs must be replaced.

• The banks of the reservoir must be reinforced.

Schumer said cleanup and removal of debris around the reservoir also needs to be completed.

Gowanda Mayor Heather McKeever said, “I am very encouraged by the support Senator Schumer continues to give us. He is genuine in his efforts and has proven time and again his commitment to helping small communities such as ours.”

The mayor said now village officials just have to sit and wait.

“The village is waiting for the FEMA approval so the project can move forward. Hopefully, with Senator Schumer’s help, it can get approved soon,” McKeever said.

Once that takes place she anticipates it will take six to eight months to finish the engineering phase, get permits from the Army Corps of Engineers and Department of Environmental Conservation, bid the project out and construct it. There is also a mitigation portion that is intended to reduce future risk to the reservoir.