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Army Corps of Engineers tour lake shore flooding and damage

(WHAM photo)

Hamlin, N.Y. - The Army Corps of Engineers toured Lake Ontario’s shore Friday, taking assessments of the damage and flooding.

The group was mostly looking at infrastructure, roads and sewers. However, they were also taking note of what the property owners are dealing with.

Touring five counties along the lake shore, 13WHAM caught up with them during their first stop in Monroe County, the Town of Hamlin.

Accompanied by Steven Baase, the Town of Hamlin Highway Superintendent, they stopped on Newco Drive, where a power pole is sitting on an island after water washed away the bank around it.

“If you get significant wave action, that pole could possible topple,” said Robert Remmers, Chief of Operations and Technical Support for the Buffalo District Corps of Engineers.

According to Baase, that could knock out power to 50 to 60 people.

Baase tells 13WHAM that pole belongs to National Grid, and the company has been notified.

National Grid said they are aware of the pole and said it is safe for the moment.

"No action is required immediately, but we are planning a move if it’s determined this will reach the 'unsafe' point," National Grid Strategic Communications Manager Steve Brady said. "If a major storm were to be forecast, we’d check it more often. As mentioned, work is underway to move it, but the condition is such that it doesn’t have to be done immediately."

Brady added that the water isn't the most pressing concern; it is erosion. Poles are set deeper than tree roots, so it would take quite a lot for them to be uprooted.

Baase continued the tour, taking the group to flooded streets, like Sandy Harbor Road. He hopes showing flooded roadways and homes to the Army Corps of Engineers will help bring funding will bring help to the town.

“Hopefully FEMA or somebody, the state will kick in and help us with our labor costs, the sand and everything. It's stretching our budgets,” said Baase, who knows the work is only going to increase when the water recedes.

Remmers says it’s important to see the damage and flooding in person. “It's very important. If you try to talk to somebody on the phone about what the conditions are, it's not the same as being out in the field and talking to the town, the local people, the local governments. Because they know firsthand what the issues are. They can take us right to the sight, we can take photographs report to our office and we can get a clearer picture up to the state what's going on.”

Baase also took the team to Sandy Shore Drive, where septic tanks are flooded, forcing homeowners to use bathrooms outside of their homes.

“That is a main concern,” said Baase, “and a main concern why people are moving out of their houses, because of leach fields and backed up sewers.”

“We're not going to solve all the problems along the lake - that's just too much for the state and corps to handle. But they're doing their best to cover the worse areas as best as they can,” said Remmers.

After the tour, the corps was able to help the town figure out where they could put sandbags to help with roadway flooding.

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