Antwerp residents blame repeated flooding on old drainage system

Published: Dec. 1, 2022 at 5:26 PM EST
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ANTWERP, New York (WWNY) - Wednesday’s rain brought flooding to parts of Antwerp.

Residents say submerged yards and leaking basement walls have become an all-too-familiar sight over the past few decades.

The Antwerp Fire Department was called in to combat the flooding with pumps, moving hundreds of gallons of water per minute.

According to residents, this kind of flooding occurs any time they get more than an inch of rain.

“Whenever it rains hard, this is what happens. The yard fills up and it just keeps building up and building up,” said Robert Dewink, resident.

“I have three of my own pumps pumping. They are pumping 390 gallons per minute. The Antwerp Fire Department has a trash pump here that is pumping a little over 400 gallons per minute. We’re pumping almost 1,000 gallons per minute and we’re still losing ground,” said Dave Gerrish, resident.

According to residents, the flooding comes from leaks in the area’s old drainage system which these homes still rely on. Dewink says the floods started after the village installed a new drainage system - a process that may have damaged the old one.

“I would like to see it fixed. New, fresh water lines put in. That would help solve the problem,” said Dewink.

Antwerp’s mayor says the village’s hands are tied. The old drainage system some Mechanic Street homeowners rely on never belonged to the village so they can’t spend taxpayer dollars on it.

“We remain firm on our stance that we do not own these systems. Doing any maintenance to them would in a direct violation to the state constitution,” said Jonathan Cole.

He says the village is willing to offer suggestions for homeowners to make their own repairs, but he reiterates that direct action will not be a possibility at this time.

“We wish we could help the residents in this area that are affected in the area by the flooding, but sadly our hands are tied,” he said.

With no direct solution in sight, homeowners are doing what they can to gear up for when more rain comes.