Some Antwerp residents frustrated over flooding, village’s response

Published: Jan. 6, 2023 at 5:32 PM EST
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ANTWERP, New York (WWNY) - It’s a recurring issue with a recurring response in Antwerp. Some villagers say flooding continues to be a problem, but officials say they can’t fix it.

Antwerp resident David Gerrish says he has about reached his limit.

“I have enough problems from serving in the military where I just can’t take it anymore,” he said.

Residents of Mechanic Street say that for the past several years, rain has soaked their cellars and submerged their yards.

Gerrish’s yard may look normal now, but that’s only due to pumps. The Oxbow Fire Department was able to help him bail out, but he fears he can’t always keep an eye on things.

“We’re going to go on vacation and come back from vacation. We’ll find the house off the foundations and sitting down in the cellar,” said Gerrish.

The flooding stems from damage to a privately-owned storm drainage system several village homes rely on. Citizens like Gerrish say the village’s new drainage system is to blame.

“Once they put the new water system in, that’s when we started having issues with the water backup,” he said.

But since the old system was privately owned, village officials have previously stated they can’t spend taxpayer dollars to fix it - not a popular answer.

“If you touch a drainage system, you should repair it. The village refuses to take responsibility for it or to do any repairs,” said Gerrish.

As for the village’s stance, Mayor Jonathan Cole says it hasn’t changed and won’t change anytime soon. Back in December, he told us the village doesn’t have the right to repair a system it never owned.

Gerrish however says he’s not satisfied.

“When they incorporated in the 50s, they took responsibility of these drains whether they wanted to or not,” he said.

Residents say the issue usually occurs after a large snow melt or whenever they get more than an inch of rain.