This is the second
story in a series on the City of Long Beach's announced plans to address storm
and flood issues. The first story is here.
While the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers prepares to conduct a comprehensive study of bayside communities on the East Coast, including Long Island, City of Long Beach officials have gone ahead of that pending study to assess the city’s entire bayside.
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Jim LaCarrubba, the city’s commissioner of public works, said the city assessed
all the bulkheads, outfalls, tideflex valves and other infrastructure along
Reynolds Channel after flooding from Hurricane Sandy wrought extensive damage
reviewing all of that,” LaCarrubba said of the assessed areas during the West
End Neighbors Civic Association’s meeting at the West End Community Center
The city has about
$125,000 in the capital budget to address tideflex valves, which are backflow
prevention devices that attach to storm drains that empty into the bay. The
funds will cover the installation of new valves and an advertised bid for
maintenance work, which the city had not performed on the valves, LaCarrubba
Litter caught in a storm drain ends up getting stuck in the tideflex value, which causes it to remain open and not shut properly, the commissioner explained. “We’re going to put a maintenance plan in place so that they’re actually maintained properly; so that they work and don’t fail as a result of a storm,” he added.
As part of more immediate plans to shore up the bayside, the city this year has nearly $500,000 in the capital budget to address problems with bulk heading, both public and private.
In August city
officials announced a new aid
that offers homeowners the option to rebuild their Sandy-damaged bulkheads, the
costs of which the municipality will finance up front and residents can pay
back either by an annual voucher or on their annual tax bill across a span of
up to 20 years. More than 300 bayside homeowners, from the Canals to the West
End, are eligible to apply for the program. The city plans to
bond funds for the program and group the rebuilding projects together, rather than
perform them individually, to cover the costs and pay the contractor or
contractors at a less pricey rate.
Manager Jack Schnirman announced that as part of longer-term solutions to
prevent or mitigate flooding in northeast Long Beach, the city has applied for
funds through the Hazard Mitigation Program to build floodgates on the canals.
The floodgates, which would be included in the Army Corps’ long-term plan,
could be opened and closed to admit or exclude water on the canals.
The $60 billion Sandy Relief Bill that Congress approved in January includes $20 million for a comprehensive study to address the flood risks of vulnerable coastal populations that were affected by Hurricane Sandy, from Virginia to Maine, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer announced in May.
LaCarrubba said that in early September he met with Army Corps officials who
are presently performing a reconnaissance study, “which is a smaller, more
focused study where they look at certain key areas and determine if they’re
really in need of a larger program and larger recommendations from the Corps.”
He added, “they are looking at Long Beach as one of those key areas that they
want to make sure is included in their larger study.”
also said he attended a meeting in New Jersey of the Coastal Engineering
Research Board, an arm of the Army Corps that researches issues of coastal
significance. He said among the key topics addresses at the board’s annual
meeting was back bay flooding.
“They are really
taking a hard look at what’s happening on the bayside of communities as opposed
to where the focus has always been, on the ocean side,” he said, noting that
it’s an issue “really getting a lot of attention now.”
The third story in this series will appear Thursday.