Home » Drainage issues still unresolved on Skunk's Misery Road

Drainage issues still unresolved on Skunk's Misery Road

NORTH EAST — The Town Board received a complaint during the summer from a resident in the Silver Mountain area, along Skunk’s Misery Road, regarding drainage that was inadequate. The problem reportedly arose following the spring floods the region experienced in April.

"There was some difficulty there as the culvert pipe got plugged up [with debris and water]," town Supervisor Dave Sherman said, adding that the resident, Janet Bertomen, hired her own engineers to investigate the matter. "They reported that the pipe up the road should be upgraded in size by two pipes. Our engineer came back and said two pipes would not be suitable in that situation."

Sherman went on to say that what would be appropriate for that location, as far as when the town would be replacing the current culvert, is to remain on the five-year replacement plan.

"That’s the estimate of the current life of what’s there now," he said. "Obviously we don’t want something to go to complete failure, and have the metal pipes rust and corrode. We don’t want it to deteriorate and collapse."

"They’re going to change the culvert opposite my house within five years," Bertomen said. "I’m waiting for the spring when the bridge is wiped away and I don’t have any money to fix it again. Within five years, who knows what’s going to happen, I have no guarantee about anything — nobody will give me one."

Sherman said the current culvert is upstream, and if the town sized it larger than for a 10-year storm it could possibly flow through the pipe and potentially damage the Bertomen driveway (which includes a bridge).

"The major problem that occurred for us, with the pipe that’s there now, is the debris came down and pulled up at the culvert entrance, and unfortunately that can happen with any size culvert," Sherman said.

The town’s engineer, Rich Rennia, agreed. In a report submitted to the Town Board, Rennia explained his rationale.

"It is our understanding that the road flooding that took place during the storm event in April 2007 was intensified due to the existing pipe being blocked by debris during the storm even and that it was this that led to the downstream driveway wash out not necessarily the size of the existing culvert," Rennia stated. "Debris can accumulate at the openings of any size culvert during storm events as trees, roots, rocks, leaves, etc., are transported by flooding streams, therefore there will always be a potential for this culvert to become blocked during a storm event whether it is sized for the 10, 25, 50 or 100 year events."

"I would like the culvert to be replaced and to have an assurance in writing from the town that this flood would be forestalled, instead of saying it only happens in 10 year cycles," Bertomen said.

The town’s highway department, meanwhile, has worked to restore the edge of Skunk’s Misery Road that’s in question. According to Sherman the damage was not truly to the road itself, but to the finer soils to the side of the road and to the Bertomen driveway.

While Bertomen asked the town to upgrade the drainage structure near her, the town’s engineers had some slight differences with her engineers as how to proceed. Bertomen, however, wants to see some action taken, and sooner rather than later.

"I really, of course, would like them to remedy the problem so I don’t have the problem again," she said. "I don’t want a reoccurring problem. I want the problem solved to my satisfaction as a property owner and a taxpayer."

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