View Full Version : Pulaski life back to normal Monday after wall along Salmon River

10-06-2010, 06:53 PM
Pulaski life back to normal Monday after wall along Salmon River collapses
Published: Monday, October 04, 2010, 5:02 PM
Debra J. Groom / The Post-Standard

Pulaski, NY -- Fishermen are on the river, businesses are open and life is pretty much back to normal in Pulaski. But Mayor Ernest Wheeler said the village’s sewage pump station still is in danger of being damaged if more rain pushes the Salmon River levels up again.

Engineers are working on plans to fix the retaining wall in Pulaski that collapsed Friday after the heavy Thursday rains. He said engineers also are coming up with the amount for how much the fix will cost.

He also is continuing to reach out to state and federal officials to get money to pay for weekend expenses to shore up the wall area and pay for the upcoming construction of a new wall. He said he should have the cost firmed up by the end of the week.

"We called our engineering firm and I've called the Army Corps of Engineers. They're working together and I'm calling to see what progress they've made," he said.

The huge concrete retaining wall and part of the soil bank that runs along the bank of the Salmon River collapsed when water levels reached flood stage. The fear was with more erosion of the soil now that the wall is gone, the village’s pump station that pumps 90 percent of the village’s sewage to the treatment plant also would be flooded or damaged.

Wheeler said if the plant or the sewage pipe beneath the river were damaged, then thousands of gallons of sewage would go into the Salmon River -- one of the most prized fishing areas in Upstate New York that draws hundreds of tourists and fishermen to Oswego County.

The state of emergency that Wheeler declared for the village Friday still is in effect. He said it will remain in effect at least through Wednesday because the forecast calls for rain in Pulaski Monday through Wednesday.

Officials at Brookfield Renewable Power’s Redfield Reservoir up river assured Wheeler they would not release any water down to the Pulaski area through the end of the week. “But they’re in the same jam as I am,” Wheeler said. “They are getting a lot of water from runoff from the Tug Hill.”

Businesses and houses in Pulaski were affected by the high water only by having flooded basements, Wheeler said. He said businesses were open for business during the weekend.

Anglers Sunday and Monday were fishing the Salmon River again following last week's flooding. However, many were focusing on the river's lower, more fishable tributaries, said people on the river.

"We’re running now at about 2,000 cubic feet per second in the main river," said Mike Stone, owner of Stoney’s Pineville Campground Monday morning. "You don’t want to be fishing the main river over your knees, you could be swept away."

He said the river is fishable and many are trying, but it’s still problematic because of the high flow, which normally is between 350 to 700 cubic feet per second this time of year.

Wheeler said there was 26,000 cubic feet of water per second in the river during the height of Friday’s flooding. In 1984, the Salmon River flooded in Pulaski with 29,000 cubic feet of water per second rushing through the village.

Fran Verdoliva, the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s Salmon River director, said the 2,000 cubic feet per second flow is the amount of water coming the Redfield Reservoir. He said the river current is even stronger, noting that water flowing in from the river’s tributaries is contributing to force of the river.

"Right now the water is coffee-colored," he said Monday afternoon. "There’s still dangerous conditions. You can’t see where you’re stepping."

He said anglers need to be careful around the river’s banks, many that could be loose from being undercut from last week’s floods. "There’s lots of fish in the river, but I would be surprised at the levels this river is flowing that fish are being pushed back downstream into the estuary, There’s a lot of debris coming through," he said.

Stone said several of his campers left early Saturday because of the high waters, but that they’ve since come back. He said he’s currently booked solid through the Columbus Day weekend. "We’ve had no cancellations," he said.

About 320 tons of rock from the King Quarry in Rodman, Jefferson County, were brought to Pulaski over the weekend to help stabilize the shoreline, Wheeler said. Village Department of Public Works employees worked throughout the weekend to keep the soil from eroding more and damaging the sewage pump station.