United Water Begins Releases From Lake DeForest Reservoir

Release request came from Assemblyman Zebrowski and as part of the Town of Clarkstown’s pre-storm preparation


The New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) on Friday afternoon requested that United Water New York increase the amount of water released from the Lake DeForest Reservoir from approximately 9.75 million gallons a day to approximately 60-80 million gallons a day. Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski had asked the DEC to make the request to mitigate potential flooding.  The reservoir was at 99 percent of capacity on Thursday. 

“With the Lake DeForest Reservoir already full and more precise predictions of significant rainfall, our dam engineers determined that it is prudent to release water from Lake DeForest into the Hackensack River for dam safety purposes,” said Michael Pointing, vice president and general manager of United Water New York. “We have been carefully monitoring the weather and taking necessary action to protect the integrity of our facilities, including dams and water supplies.”

United Water has been working with the Rockland County and Clarkstown Offices of Emergency Management to coordinate emergency preparation and response activities. Pointing also said that the company is maximizing production from the Lake DeForest Water Treatment Plant, which will partially reduce the reservoir level for dam protection. 

The announcement came after a morning storm prep meeting between Clarkstown officials and county, United Water and Orange & Rockland Utilities’ representatives. Clarktown Supervisor Alex Gromack said the release of water should help residents who live near the reservoir.

“This will have a positive effect on managing the pending hurricane that is headed our way,” said Gromack. 

Town departments have been preparing for Hurricane Sandy for the last few days particularly in known flooding areas.  Gromack said highway crews removed leaves from Jeffrey Court and Klein Avenue in West Nyack. Teh department assembled 2,000 sand bags in preparation for flooding, inspected and cleared 233 culverts, inspected or cleared numerous catch basins and drainage pipes, prepared equipment and picked up leaves. Town DEC and Building Department officials have been advising contractors to clean up construction sites.

The town also has been releasing water from Lake Lucille, a retention basin near Klein Avenue and Congers Lake, which will be lowered about three feet. Gromack said they were concerned about additional soil flowing into Lake Lucille during the storm from a residential housing project on the Ramapo/Clarkstown border.

“Town departments have begun to take all necessary precautions in preparation for the storm and will continue to do so over the weekend,” said Gromack, adding the town plans to open its Emergency Operation Center in the police department at 8 a.m. on Monday, Oct. 29. 

Gromack urged Clarkstown to pile loose leaves or bagged leaves on their lawn, not in the street.  He asked residents to move any leaves in the street back onto their lawns to avoid clogging storm drains. 

 Clarkstown provided additional storm preparation tips:

  • Check all emergency supplies and equipment.
  • Monitor weather reports. 
  • Keep a portable radio and flashlight on hand with fresh batteries.
  • Keep a first aid kit available and make sure there is ample supply of medicines on hand for those who require them. 
  • Clear the yard of loose objects such as patio furniture or Halloween decorations.
  • Store sufficient drinking water for each family member.  A gallon a day for each individual in the household is recommended. 
  • Store important documents in waterproof containers.
  • If ordered to evacuate comply immediately!

Plan your evacuation route ahead of time.  Make arrangements now by identifying a friend or family member located away from non-threatened areas. Also make arrangements for pets in the event of evacuation since most shelters will not accept pets. 

Madeline October 27, 2012 at 10:58 AM
Job well done by Ken Zebrowski and David Carlucci for calling the DEC to allow United Water to start lowering the Lake Deforest Reservoir, but do you really think that was necessary... Shouldn't there be a standard of operating procedures in this type of situation already in place. It seems to be a no brainer, full reservoir, tropical storm or hurricane and excess water cause flooding in many areas of our community. This proactive approach will help many residents of West Nyack, Mr Zebrowski and Mr Carlucci should keep the push on to have DEC and United Water draw up a written plan to be a part of the Emergency Mangement Program so phone calls should not have to be made by our Politicians to protect our community. The DEC and United Water need to take a more proactive approach to the flooding in West Nyack, this is nothing new!! There actions have a direct effect on us.. It seems simple to me.
Issy October 27, 2012 at 01:26 PM
These procedures are already in place, but ultimately it is the DEC decision and as such it does take political influence to get them to act.
Kirby October 27, 2012 at 07:39 PM
Weather forecasts can be wrong. In 2005, Hurricane Isabel was supposed to bring 12 inches of rain to Rockland but only less than one inch actually fell. Plus, Lake DeForest is not a flood control reservoir, it is a water storage reservoir.
Laura Rose October 30, 2012 at 02:57 AM
Thanks for posting. Glad that our Jeffrey court neighbors are pre- protected


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