Study on West Seneca flooding wasn’t followed

WEST SENECA, N.Y. (WIVB) – West Seneca’s town supervisor is saying that recommendations made 35 years ago to prevent floods were apparently never followed.

The Town of West Seneca is moving forward with a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers study to find the cause of the flooding and a possible long-term solution. Town officials believe the study will cost a quarter of a million dollars and there is some frustration more wasn’t done to prevent the flooding.

West Seneca residents aren’t just looking for a solution. Many of them would like to know why recommendations made in a 1979 study – finished after a major flood of the Buffalo Creek – haven’t been followed.

“This was written in 1979. We haven’t done one thing about it yet. We don’t have to do another study. We don’t’ have to spend another million. The answers are all right here,” David Monolopolus said at Monday’s board meeting.

According to the Army Corps of Engineers, the 1979 study did not address ice jam flooding, which is what led to the water running over the banks and into homes this year. So a new study wouldn’t be redundant.

But town supervisor Sheila Meegan says many parts of the ’79 study stand out to her.

“I don’t think any of the recommendations were completed. The maintenance of the creeks. That should be an annual thing. And you can see by the creek and the height of the creek, that hasn’t been done,” Meegan said.

“It’s been a long time since I’ve seen anyone clean it out,” resident Tom Miller said.

Miller has lived next to the Buffalo creek for 15 years and has noticed a change in creek maintenance.

“I haven’t seen anyone down here cleaning out the sediment in quite a few years,” Miller said.

Residents are worried about what will happen with the next thaw.

Meegan says the temporary fix will involve sandbags building up the berm, which she believes has eroded and in the spring will need to be permanently built up and extended.

“Fix the berm. Clean the creek, and make sure the design of those flood pools on the other side of Lexington are filling the way they’re designed to fill. And that didn’t happen over these last two floods,” Meegan said.

Typical flood management projects done by the Army Corps of Engineers can involve levees, floodwalls, impoundments, pumping stations and channel modifications – depending on the specific problem at the specific site.

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