Gov. Cuomo introduces new weapon to battle flooding while again criticizing the IJC

Jun 13, 2017
Originally published on June 14, 2017 11:28 am

Governor Cuomo stopped in shoreline communities in Greece and Sodus Point to unveil some new technology designed to save homes and businesses from further damage from high water levels on Lake Ontario. 

Damage he says is due in part to a late response from the board that regulates water levels on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River, the International Joint Commission.

Cuomo says the state is testing two "Aqua Dams," water filled synthetic device that, when it works, acts like a portable dam.

"Essentially when it works, a 4-foot, 5-foot, 6-foot additional seawall that can be constructed exactly where you need it," he said.  "If it works, I want the state to invest in it.  Protect the homeowners now.  It's also reusable."

Director of the State's Emergency Management Office, Kevin Wisely, says the state is testing a 140 foot Aqua Dam in Greece and another 700 foot device in Sodus Point.

"It fills itself up and it becomes that barrier.  It'll be four foot high, about 9 foot wide, and becomes a barrier, essentially a break wall," he said.

Rick Maciulis has lived in a home on the lake for 15 years, and has doubts that the new Aqua Dam will protect his residence.

"Absolutely it will go over.  Water hits my second story window here.  When it hits the break wall, it splashes up 18, 20 feet," he said.

The governor also outlined the state grants of up to $40 thousand dollars which are available for homeowners, and up to $20 thousand dollars for small businesses.

And he said the town of Greece and village of Sodus Point will be reimbursed $500 thousand dollars each for infrastructure costs due to the high water levels.

Governor Cuomo used the opportunity to again blast the board that regulates water levels on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River, the International Joint Commission.

He said the agency bears much of the blame for flooding in New York's lakeside communities.

"They did not increase the outflows when they could have, and I think they pulled the trigger too late...and they got behind, and now we have a real problem,''  he said.

The International Joint Commission responded to Cuomo's comments by saying nobody could have predicted the severe flooding throughout the Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River system caused by record rainfall. 

The commission-directed board that controls outflow through a St. Lawrence River dam said Tuesday it would increase water releases starting Wednesday. 

Here's Dakota McKie with National Guard talking about the Aqua Dam installed in Greece:

Governor Cuomo says the Aqua Dam is something, if it works, the state should invest in for the future:

Copyright 2017 WXXI News. To see more, visit WXXI News.