Governor Cuomo announces emergency authorizations for repair work following severe storms and flooding

By WBNG News

Governor Cuomo announces emergency authorizations for repair work following severe storms and flooding

July 2, 2013 Updated Jul 2, 2013 at 4:44 PM EDT

(WBNG Binghamton) New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that he directed Commissioner Joe Martens and the Department of Environmental Conservation to issue an Emergency Declaration to authorize immediate work in 23 counties impacted by heavy rains and flooding due to severe storms this past week.

According to a news release from Cuomo's office:

The emergency declaration allows DEC to authorize emergency projects and issue general permits, which allow for emergency repairs to address damage to homes, property and structures, and public infrastructure, including debris removal, and stream, road and bridge stabilization projects.

In addition, in cases where the damage has created an emergency situation that could threaten public health or safety, state or local agencies, including municipalities, can begin work immediately, prior to DEC’s approval of a general permit. DEC should be notified prior to work beginning, but if that is not possible, notification should be made within 24 hours.

Landowners should contact the DEC regional offices for assistance in receiving a general permit.

“This action by the State will streamline the recovery process, allowing communities that have been flooded to respond and rebuild quickly without having to wade through unnecessary red tape,” Governor Cuomo said. “This Emergency Declaration will allow state and local officials as well as private landowners to take quick action to prevent further damage and stabilize existing structures and infrastructure.”

Under New York State Environmental Conservation Law, DEC may issue general permits after a natural disaster where individuals need to undertake similar types of projects of a remedial nature. In such cases, DEC can issue an emergency declaration which authorizes a general permit for a limited range of activities that would normally require an individual permit.

DEC Commissioner Joe Marten said, “The Department of Environmental Conservation and other state agencies are working with the affected communities to minimize flooding impacts, mitigate damage that has occurred and assist with recovery efforts. In light of the widespread damage that has been inflicted and the emergency declaration issued by the Governor, specific work may be undertaken pursuant to emergency authorizations and general permits so this important work can start immediately.”

The affected counties are: Broome, Chenango, Clinton, Delaware, Essex, Franklin, Herkimer, Madison, Montgomery, Oneida, Otsego, Tioga, Schoharie, St. Lawrence, Niagara and Warren Counties, and potentially Ulster, Sullivan, Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland and Westchester counties.

DEC should be consulted on these projects to ensure that they proceed with minimal impact on natural resources and to ensure that they do not exacerbate flooding damages. Guidelines on how the work can be conducted to protect infrastructure and the environment have been posted on DEC’s website at http://www.dec.ny.gov/permits/89343.html.

Project coordinators should contact DEC Regional offices to obtain guidance and general assistance on flood-related issues such as damaged facilities, debris removal, and solid waste.

A list of the regional offices can be found at: http://www.dec.ny.gov/about/50230.html.

The following is a list of DEC contact numbers to obtain permits or received guidance for projects:

General Permits

The damage caused by the storms and flooding affected public and private property and infrastructure. Repair or replacement projects are often undertaken in environmentally sensitive areas such as protected waterways and wetlands. Among projects that can be undertaken with a general permit are permanent stream bank stabilization measures, including installation or repair or rock rip-rap; stream channel restoration; and bridge and culvert repairs.

Region 3: 845-256-3054 (Ulster, Sullivan, Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Westchester)
Region 4: 518-357-2069 (Schoharie, Delaware, Montgomery, Otsego)
Region 5: 518 897-1233 (Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Warren)
Region 6: 315-785-2247 (Herkimer, Oneida, St. Lawrence)
Region 7: 315-426-7438 (Broome, Chenango, Madison, Tioga)
Region 9: 716-851-7165 (Niagara)

Debris Removal/Solid Waste

One of the main and immediate challenges facing municipalities is the need for debris removal and management of solid waste. Debris often interfere with stream flows, clog culverts or bridges, which can exacerbate flooding. During cleanups, it is important to separate materials such as household hazardous wastes, propane and gas containers, or other regulated solid wastes that require special handling.

The following document provides guidance for storm-related waste from damaged areas:

Region 3: 845-256-3157
Region 4: 518- 357-2045
Region 5: 518-623-1212
Region 6: 315-793-2555
Region 7: 315-426-7519
Region 9: 716-851-7220

Spill Response

DEC is also deploying spill response teams to assess flooding-related spills in affected areas. To report a suspected spill, contact DEC’s 24-hour Emergency Spill Hotline at 1-800-457-7362.

Region 3: 845-256-3137
Region 4: 518-357-2399
Region 5: 518-897-1242
Region 6: 315-793-2555
Region 7: 315-426-7519
Region 9: 716-851-7220

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