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Islip Town to study ways to solve flooding problem in Islip hamlet

Robert Schneider, 56, holds photos of the flooding

Robert Schneider, 56, holds photos of the flooding on Cedar Avenue in Islip, where his driveway and street consistently flood when it rains, on Dec. 31, 2014. Credit: Heather Walsh

Town officials are taking additional steps to alleviate flooding in the South Shore hamlet of Islip, after several failed abatement projects.

More than two dozen complaints of flooding were lodged with the town in the past 12 years by residents on Cedar Avenue, according to figures provided by the town.

At a town board meeting on Dec. 16, Islip's council unanimously approved a $33,500 contract for Savik & Murray LLP, an engineering consulting firm from Holbrook, to conduct a study to help find a solution.

The study is expected to begin sometime this month and include a map of watershed areas and elevations and the effectiveness of the current drainage system, which includes a series of leaching pools that do not provide an outlet to the Great South Bay, said Tom Owens, commissioner of Islip's Department of Public Works.

After the study is complete, Savik & Murray is expected to make recommendations to the town, which could include additional drainage measures as well as plans to connect the leaching pools to the bay, to allow excess water to drain away, Owens said. Once a plan is set, work will be done by Laser Industries Inc. of Ridge, the town-approved drainage contractor, Owens said.

Residents on the block just north of East Bayberry Road, including Robert Schneider, said each heavy rain has washed out the roadway in front of their homes.

Flooding has been a persistent problem, even with 10 leaching basins in place, including four installed in the past several years, neighbors and town officials said.

The flooding, which can happen several times a year, can take days to recede and require the help of the town's pump trucks, residents said. It also creates costly work on lawns, including replacing topsoil, grass, parts of driveways and shrubbery.

"It gets deep, up and down the whole block," Schneider said, pointing to just below his knee to show how high the water can rise near the drain in front of his two-story house.

The Town of Islip is also tackling two other flood-prone areas with drainage solutions, including at Garretson Avenue in the hamlet of Islip -- which will take about one to two months and up to $250,000 to complete -- and Middlesex Avenue in Oakdale, which is slated to take three to five months and cost about $1 million, according to Owens. About $700,000 of the Middlesex project will be paid for through grants, Owens said.

Owens, in an email, said flooding "is an issue in any area that is south of Montauk Highway . . . something that continually presents a challenge for residents and the Town."

While there are hopes of starting work on Cedar Avenue by the spring, a firm timeline to complete the work and its price will not be determined until the study is finished, Owens said.

"We're just grateful they're coming to fix it," Schneider said. "We're thrilled it's happening."

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