Trevor Junquera/Recorder staff Randall Hart Sr. of the town of Mohawk cuts the pavement on Reservoir Road as repairs to Thursday night's storm damage commenced this morning. Behind him are Tom Layne, Randall Hart Jr. and John Wilsey.
Joshua Thomas While a stream usually passes underground through Canajoharie Water Filtration Plant property, emptying through the now-exposed culvert system, a surge of water above ground washed out a large section of land Thursday.
Joshua Thomas/For The Recorder Canajoharie Police Chief Bryan MacFadden said this fuel tank was carried downstream to its eventual resting place near the end of Old Sharon Road, on Route 10, in the town of Canajoharie.
Joshua Thomas/For The Recorder At 7:25 a.m. today, a Canajoharie DPW crew clears a fallen tree from Old Sharon Road while Canajoharie Police Chief Bryan MacFadden directs traffic. SONY DSC
By NICOLE ANTONUCCI
Recorder News Staff
Montgomery County residents went to bed Thursday night under a state of emergency as flood waters made their return to the Mohawk Valley.
This morning the state of emergency remained in effect as officials assessed the damage and DPW crews begin to make repairs to roadways that remained impassable.
"This was similar to the incident on June 16 when we got so much rain so fast that the runoff in the ditches and the culverts was too much," Office of Emergency Management Director Jeffery Smith said. "It absolutely destroyed the village of Palatine, the village of Canajoharie, and the towns of Root and Mohawk."
Montgomery County Executive Matthew Ossenfort said he planned to meet with emergency crews to get an update and then go from there.
"We will do an assessment of the damage," he said this morning. "After that, I will know better how long the state of emergency will remain in effect."
Power went out shortly after 9 a.m. today in eastern Montgomery County. According to National Grid, power was out for 698 customers in the city, 13 in the town of Amsterdam, 1,078 in the town of Florida, 79 in Palatine and one or two in other places. The estimated restoration time was 11:45 a.m.
The village of Canajoharie remained under a boil-water order after its filtration plant was compromised due to significant flooding. Police Chief Bryan MacFadden said the order will remain in effect until next week.
The village Department of Public Works building also experienced flooding, causing water damage to the building but no equipment was lost.
MacFadden said fire department crews were busy throughout the night pumping out more than 50 residences which had taken on water, but no one had been displaced by the storm.
As of this morning all roads in the village were open.
The underground stream flowing through filtration plant property couldn't handle Thursday evening's deluge, sending the water above ground, directly over the clean water table.
"The water was all the way across the whole thing and it got into the tank," said DPW Superintendent Jeff Swartz, who said that while the tank isn't "full" of flood water, "enough got in there to contaminate the drinking water."
When Swartz arrived to survey the scene at the filtration plant Thursday around 8 p.m., he said the storm water was already covering the clean water system, which is surrounded by a rock-lined ditch that usually diverts any water that the underground culvert system can't handle.
The water table is currently being emptied, flushed with clean water, and re-filled. Swartz said he expects it to be back online within a few days. Until then, the village of Canajoharie will utilize water from a 2 million gallon storage tank on Smith Street, which can supply the village for three to four days. Though the water being supplied to the village by the Smith Street tank is clean, the boil-water order was issued as a safety precaution.
A stream behind the Canajoharie DPW headquarters, on Old Fort Plain Road, infiltrated the facility. Three inches of water, mud and debris flowed right through the building, ruining everything that was on the ground.
Though Swartz said the village's large equipment should be all right, one dump truck was "right in the middle of it all." Busy cleaning up and repairing damage in the village Friday morning, DPW employees hadn't yet found an opportunity to survey the vehicle's damage.
However, Route 5 between Reservoir Road and the village of Palatine Bridge remained closed today as crews repaired damage from a rock slide that trapped several people last night.
Smith said two or three people were rescued by state DOT crews and no injuries were reported.
Residents are being advised to avoid that area and use the state Thruway or Route 5S for east and westbound travel.
Mohawk Fire Chief Jim Lovesa, who lives on Reservoir Road, said the road is impassable.
"There is pretty much a giant hole in the middle of the road," he said.
Lovesa, who was on call Thursday night, reported significant flooding in the town of Mohawk and village of Fonda. Several pump-outs were needed on Broadway and Route 5, which was underwater for several hours.
However he said there were not as many pump-outs as he expected, given the amount of water that was coming in.
"I have never seen the creeks running like they were last night. There was a lot of water," Lovesa said. "We had two or three pump-outs but we usually get a lot more when there is a lot less water."
Lovesa said Mayor William Peeler also declared a state of emergency.
Smith said the Emergency Operations Center in Fonda also took on water, ruining equipment and books.
In the town of Glen, Fire Chief JD Downing said there was flooding on Route 30A between the town and the village of Fultonville but as of this morning the road was back in service.
"We were pretty much on stand-by for most of the night," Downing said. "We didn't get as much flooding as the upper part of the county."
Rural Grove Fire Chief Jeff Kaczor said his department dealt with pump-outs and road closures throughout the night due to flash flooding.
Route 5S, Route 162, Flat Creek and Carlisle Road were all shut down Thursday night due to runoff but were back in service as of this morning.
The state Thruway was temporarily closed due to flooding but was reopened this morning.
In addition to Route 5, roads that remained closed in the county of this morning:
Hickory Hill Road at Barker Road;
Mapletown Road from Shunk Road to Old Sharon Road in the Town of Canajoharie;
West Ames Road from White Road to Buel Road Town of Canajoharie;
Old Sharon from Carlisle to Maple Hill Road Town. of Canajoharie;
West Sprakers Road from Jump Street to the Village of Canajoharie.
Joshua Thomas contributed to this report.