Next Steps to Attacking
"Dry Weather Flows:"
Committee Recommends Consultant Engineer
by Judy Silberstein
Ice Dam on the Post Road
(February 5, 2004) This year's record-setting
cold snaps are once again creating hazardous icy conditions
as a result of "dry weather flow," the streams
of water burbling from private properties onto public roadways.
Village of Larchmont’s
Committee on the Environment came before the Board of Trustees
on February 2
to recommend the next step in attacking the situation:
hiring consultant engineer Dolph Rotfeld to supply a specific
of 80 properties identified as having a dry weather flow
Under ordinary conditions, a few extra gallons of water
flowing down the street might not create much of a problem.
But, take one basement sump pump spewing water into the street;
add below freezing temperatures; and what you get is a stream
of black ice creating hazards for pedestrians and vehicles
alike. “It’s first and foremost a safety issue,” said
Carol Casazza Herman, from the Committee on the Environment.
“And secondly an environmental concern,” she
added. The Village has been laying down dams of salt to contain
the ice, but salt creates other problems, including eroding
the roads and damaging plants. Dry weather flows also contribute
to polluting Long Island Sound and overtaxing Larchmont’s
“It’s also a liability and legal issue,” said
Patty Horing, another committee member.
And its an issue that should involve both the Village and
the homeowner, the committee
is not the only Westchester community facing the problem,
attack it. “You’re
blazing a trail,” Engineer Rotfeld told the Board.
Mayor Ken Bialo indicated that Rotfeld has served as a Larchmont
consultant for years and is one of the “foremost engineers” with
public works on the East Coast.
The problems are not a result
of changes in the environment, suggested Rotfeld, but instead
from improper routing of water away from homes. In the past
decade, Larchmont has cracked down on illegal hookups from
homes to sanitary sewers. In some cases, homeowners may have
disconnected from the sewers, but not properly connected
to a legal alternative.
The committee has been working since last year on the dry
weather flow problem, with the help of Village Engineer Mike
Lepre and consultant Rotfeld. At the November 17 Board meeting
Lepre presented a
giant map showing 80 problem spots.
Patty Horing and colleague Kevin Ryan presented the committee’s
latest findings to the Board and suggested the following
- Hire Engineer Dolph to look at all 80 properties
identified in an earlier survey as contributing to the
dry weather flow
- Develop recommendations for each homeowner, to
let everyone know the extent of the problem;
- Identify whether the
problem involves a relatively simple hookup to an existing
nearby sewer (a type 1 situation),
a more complicated hookup (type 2) or an entirely different
approach, such as installation of a drywell (type 3).
Once Rotfeld has developed his diagnostics,
the committee will come back with a more specific financial
for how to deal with what is found.
All this should be accomplished by March, so that there
is time to locate contractors and implement solutions before
next winter. “There’s no reason we can’t
deal with all but a few [homes] that are far from a tie-in,” said
“The timetable is ambitious,” admitted Ms.
Casazza Herman, “But it’s what we have to aim
for. We need some improvement for next winter.”
“We feel the Village of Larchmont should play a role,” said
Horing. Specifically, at this point, the committee believes
the Village should hire and pay for the services of the engineer.
The Board considered the committee’s recommendation,
and will be acting upon it as soon as it receives an estimate
of the costs.
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