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Saranac Lake Village workers last week, working on closing one of the gates after releasing some water. Photo: Mark Kurtz
Saranac Lake Village workers last week, working on closing one of the gates after releasing some water. Photo: Mark Kurtz

Damages emerge as floodwaters stabilize

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The National Weather Service downgraded its flood warning to a "watch" along the Raquette River in St. Lawrence County. But the more severe warning stands in the Champlain Valley. Tupper Lake town and village officials have lifted the state of emergency there. Saranac Lake officials say they can now draw the swollen lakes outflow down about an inch a day.

As the waters recede, communities are getting closer looks at flood damages, with the help of federal emergency management teams.

Martha Foley has more.

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Martha Foley
News and Public Affairs Director

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Saranac Lake officials say they finally have water levels under control at a key dam in the village.

Village Manager John Sweeney reported on flood damage to the village board Monday night. He said crews were managing the flow upstream of the Lake Flower Dam, and should be able to reduce water levels by an inch a day. “For the first time in quite a while we’re seeing reductions in downstream movements and hopefully relieving some of the pressure on people downstream for us,” he said.

Sweeney listed concerns about two water system trunklines, and “uncalculated” shoreline repairs.

He said a hydropoint - manmade peninsula that protects a sewer line below the dam - has significant scouring damage.  Retaining walls downstream will need work, as will the foundations of some buildings, and the River Walk corridor.

Officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency have visited the village. But Sweeney says they came too early. “Their comment to me was, ‘Usually, the event is over with,’” he said. “We still had flood stages when they were here. So they will be back.”

Sweeney says if the village gets money for repairing publicly-owned infrastructure, 75 percent will be funded by the federal government, while the remaining 25 percent will be split evenly by state and local governments.

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