It's been almost a year since tropical storms Irene and Lee spawned massive floods in Montgomery County, and the recovery goes on.
"It's currently not a daily focus anymore," Paul Clayburn, Montgomery County Public Works commissioner, said recently. "We're getting caught back up in our normal maintenance work."
Some work remains for the DPW, he said.
This culvert in the town of Mohawk awaits a new, larger pipe to replace one destroyed by flooding in August.
The Leader-Herald/John R. Becker
"The majority of [flood-related] work has been completed," he said. "There are still bits and pieces. We finished the paving on the Canalway Trail last week. Some guide rails still need to be replaced on some culvert projects."
Clayburn said county and town officials are waiting for reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
"Paperwork and funding is a daily battle, and will be for quite some time," Clayburn said. "We've been through the FEMA process. They make out project worksheets, then review them. Then there's the 'Blue Folder' process, with all the necessary forms to sign for reimbursement. Shortly after that, the money starts coming in."
County Treasurer Shawn Bowerman said the historic floods have created two funding issues.
"The county's buildings and properties sustained close to $1.9 million in damage, and the Burtonville project was more than $700,000," he said.
Municipalities must seek reimbursement from their own insurance companies before asking FEMA for money, Bowerman said.
Clayburn said FEMA has a process called "mitigation," which involves taking steps to reduce the severity of flood damage if it happens. He is focusing on the DPW building, the Annex building on Park Street in?Fonda and the DPW's carpentry shop.
"We're looking at two systems suggested by FEMA: dry proofing and wet proofing," he said. "Dry proofing is sealing off windows and installing mechanisms in doorways to keep water from coming in. Wet proofing is raising everything you can above flood stage. There are different types of lifts and platforms you can use to raise things."
Mohawk Supervisor Greg Rajkowski said most of the damage in his town has been repaired.
"The town garage and the town hall have been taken care of," Rajkowski said. "Our highways and roads themselves have been repaired."
Two culvert pipes, a large one near the town's transfer station and a smaller one on Reservoir Road, still need to be replaced, he said.
"We found out the hard way that [the one near the transfer station] wasn't big enough," he said. "Now we need to replace it, and we're waiting to see if FEMA will pay for it."
Glen Supervisor Lawrence Coddington said his town wasn't as badly damaged as other areas.
"Our primary concern is the Schoharie Creek," Coddington said. "We've had several meetings, tours and so on. It's going to cost so much money to clean it up, and there's so little money available."
Coddington said the accumulated debris from the flood could cause a major problem in the event of a large rainstorm.
"There's so much debris, it's all going to be pulled into the creek if it's disturbed," he said.
John R. Becker covers Montgomery County news. He can be reached at email@example.com.