Niagara Gazette

September 26, 2013

Lewiston officials trying to deal with water issues in Riverwalk subdivision

By Timothy Chipp
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — Sometimes the best envisioned plans never come to fruition. One in Lewiston has left residents of the Lewiston Riverwalk housing community with more questions than answers.

After proposing a plan to eliminate a large standing water "pond" that's caused both public health and property damage concerns since the development was approved, Lewiston officials have done an about-face on promises of relief.

"That subdivision is so screwed up," Supervisor Steve Reiter said of the relief project. "The trapped water doesn't flow naturally. It is not an easy fix and the cost kept going up."

Originally, town engineer Ryan Smith proposed a plan building drainage from the pond to a nearby Niagara County stormwater sewer line across River Road from the development. But Smith said the land was "not conducive" for the project, which relied on gravity to move the water.

Instead, he's offered residents an alternative which he said will take a green approach to not only fixing the standing water problem but also lessen the potential for flooded basements and destruction.

Smith is asking the town board to consider installing a rain garden, which, combined with some drainage relief through filling and grading, would control the water level of the land, which sits near a wetland in the area of Pletcher and River roads in the northwest portion of town.

"Coupled together, it's designed to lessen the degree of flooding," Smith said. "Typically, these gardens have a drain, but because the land isn't conducive to gravity systems, we'd likely need to consider using a pump to direct runoff away from residents."

Hearing Smith's explanation of the latest plan the town has to fix the persistent problem, a handful of residents gathered at the Monday town board meeting said the rain garden idea is simply a "bandage on a dam."

They said the development residents were promised fixes since it was built and have yet to see anything make substantial improvements.

"Because of the way it was built, it created a natural dam," Brian Pollock said. "The only way they could really fix this is to get rid of the water. They need to pump the water out but they don't want to pay for it."

Pollock and his neighbors said the issue they're more concerned about isn't the pond and the health concerns it poses, including the mosquitos. They're upset the continuous water problem has caused each of them to worry every year about sub pumps and indoor flooding.

He said he's burned out several pumps over the past few years, as they remain constantly running each spring and never shut off.

"The sub pump runs nonstop for three months," he said. "This has been going on for six years. But nothing's happened until last January. This is a start, but it's all (it) is."

Contact reporter Timothy Chipp at 282-2311, ext. 2251 or follow on Twitter @timchipp.