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Lindenhurst residents think pump may be partial solution to street flooding

Longtime Lindenhurst resident Maureen Stoll, center, discusses her

Longtime Lindenhurst resident Maureen Stoll, center, discusses her concerns about flooding on South 8th Street with waterways management supervisor Brian Zitani and village trustee Joan Masterson on March 7. Credit: Debbie Egan-Chin

It has taken more than a year of testing, searching and prodding, but residents of one Lindenhurst street may have found the solution to their flooding problems: a pump.

Residents of South 8th Street recently joined with village, town, county and state officials for a meeting focused on the routine flooding that occurs on their street. The March 7 meeting was organized by the residents after a monthslong letter-writing campaign to their local representatives.

“The expectation today was to get everyone together in the same room, sharing your experience and knowledge,” said Patrick Norton, who led the resident contingent. But the meeting was also designed to try and get funding from officials to help solve the problem, he added.

South 8th Street lies off the Great South Bay and between two canals. But those water sources are only part of the problem, residents said. Even mild rain brings water up from street drains. Add in wind and a higher than normal tide and the water can rise more than a foot and doesn’t recede for four hours or longer.

“We understand, when you live on the water, you have to accept a certain amount of inconvenience,” said Maureen Stoll, who has lived on South 8th Street since 1981. “But this is getting ridiculous.”

Village trustee Pat Pichichero said that while many streets south of Montauk Highway flood, South 8th appears to have it the worst.

About a year ago, after many complaints from residents, he began meeting with them and methodically investigating the problem.

Pichichero said they found there is “some kind of mechanical drainage failure” in the system. The village installed check valves, then hired a company to put a camera into the system and found several clogs, as well as a break in one of the pipes, he said. The village repaired it and cleaned out the pipes, he said, but officials still don’t know whether there’s a disconnect underground where the pipes have settled.

Pichichero and Norton told the officials at the meeting that residents were hoping for an allocation of $500,000 for engineering work but that in the short-term the best solution is to install an electrical pump on the street. The village already has dedicated Sandy money for a planned pump on South 6th Street.

The village is basing its approach in part on the success of Freeport Village’s use of pumps. Mayor Robert Kennedy said the village spent about $1.2 million to install eight pumps. But he warned that if resident bulkheading is not adequate a pump will not help.

State Sen. John Brooks (D-Seaford) promised at the meeting to ask for funding for the pump. The village has given him a proposal seeking $178,800 for the pump and $25,000 for bulkhead repairs. Pichichero said the village also will begin pressing residents to fix their bulkheads.

Pichichero said the hope is that fixing South 8th Street may lead to other street flooding alleviation.

“There’s a lot more conversations that have to happen,” he said. “But right now this is a quick-fix to get the quality of life back on South 8th Street.”

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