T he rains came down and the winds came up.
But other than some basement flooding, Whitehall stood strong.
The two-part storm that dropped massive rains and produced major winds on the town to help usher in the month of October did not lead to any serious situations, according to town and village officials.
“We had 7.3-inches of rain on Thursday and Friday,” said Whitehall Village Trustee Kenneth Bartholomew. “The best part was that the wastewater treatment plant performed better than it has in any recent storm like this.”
The village has been working to upgrade the wastewater system, which included inspections of the main lines and fixing laterals to help reduce the amount of excess flow into the main filtration plant, particularly during heavy rain events.
“When we had events like this before; the plant would shut down and would not come fully back on line for three or four days,” said Bartholomew. “After the storm last week, we were back up within eight to ten hours.”
The Whitehall Police Department and village Department Of Public Works received several reports of basements flooding in the village and town, and the local fire companies helped to pump water out of flooded cellars.
“We had several flooding basement reports, but other than that we did not receive any reports of issues,” said DPW head Jiem Rozell. “Some might have thought that it would have been worse, but there really were no major issues.”
“We received calls to help with basements,” said Whitehall Fire Company Chief Bryan Brooks. “There was nothing more serious that was reported to us. We were concerned that there might be flooding on the Mettowee by the day care, but I hear the canal worked on keeping the locks open and keeping the water levels down.”
Rozell also said the storm was the first major test for the new drainage system that was put in as part of the bridge and road renovations on Broadway.
“There was no flooding at all on Broadway,” said Rozell. “That was a relief to see that everything was working there.”
However, the Rev. Donna Arnold and a few members of Trinity Episcopal Church located along Broadway were at the village board meeting on Oct. 4 to address a flooding issue in their basement.”
“Every time the water gets to a certain level, we have six-to-eight inches of sewer water in our basement,” said Sheila Chaplin. “It comes in from all sides, and as soon as the water goes below the level, the water is gone from the basement.”
Arnold said the church had the Cutting Edge, the company that is overseeing the work on the water and wastewater systems, check out the surrounding wastewater lines with its cameras, but did not find any answers as to why the church would have the problem.
“We can take another look with our cameras,” said Rozell.
“We definitely want to investigate that further,” said Mayor Francis “Fra” Putroti. “We want to make sure that whatever the problem is. We need to solve it because it should not be happening all the time like it is.”
Bartholomew also addressed several complaints that came into the town during the meeting.
“We had several people who called saying that they had water coming in through storm drains in their cellars,” said Bartholomew. “Really, that is there fault because you cannot have those drains under our new ordinance. I don’t blame them for being upset that there was sewage water coming up into their basement, but it really is their fault and they need to cap those.”
“The ordinance says that if they are in violation, that they will be put on notice and they will need a corrective plan,” said Trustee Walt Sanford.
“If it happens again, we need to have the police fill out an incident report and give them 45 days to remedy the situation,” said Bartholomew