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Saranac Lake crews work to unclog drains

April 12, 2011
By CHRIS KNIGHT - Senior Staff Writer ( , Adirondack Daily Enterprise

SARANAC LAKE - Melting snow and rain combined to create some minor flooding problems in this village on Monday.

Village crews used a vacuum truck Monday afternoon to clear debris from a stormwater line off Broadway, behind the Veterans Memorial Association and between Hyde Fuel and a house, where standing water had pooled.

A similar problem was reported at Brandy Brook, near NBT Bank on River Street, where debris from the overflowing stream kept clogging a storm sewer grate, causing some minor flooding.

Article Photos

Chris Blanchard and another Saranac Lake village worker use hoses from a vacuum truck to suck water from a flooded area behind the Veterans Memorial Association on Broadway Monday afternoon.
(Enterprise photo — Peter Crowley)

"Even after we get the grate, the water's coming out of a storm basin and coming right back up," village Sewer Plant Operator Kevin Pratt said Monday night. "We'll have people come in every two hours tonight to keep it raked."

Village Department of Public Works Superintendent Robert Martin said crews also dealt with a plugged sewer main on Old Lake Colby Road.

"We've also had a number of calls with the high flows as far as sewer lines - just people concerned because they're hearing noises, and that's usually because of high flows," Martin said.

Meanwhile, the village has opened the flood gates at the dam on Lake Flower to try to keep the lake level from getting too high. The gates were opened 3 feet as of Monday night but may have to be opened even wider, Pratt said.

"We don't want the water to get over 18 inches over the (dam's) spillway, or else it could place the bridge (above the dam) in jeopardy," he said. "We're at 12 inches over the spillway right now. It came up 4 inches overnight, and we're trying to hold it off."

Farther down the Saranac River, stormwater and sewer flows into the village's wastewater treatment plant topped out at 5.1 million gallons on Monday. Normally the plant handles about 1.7 million gallons per day.

The compost pile at the sewer plant has also been closed due to flooding.

While all the water has caused a few headaches, it's nothing village crews can't handle, Pratt said.

"This is pretty much standard with every spring to some degree, but this year we knew, with the amount of snow we were getting, that it was just a matter of time," he said.



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