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Photo by Mary Jane Watson
Photo by Mary Jane Watson

Returning high waters raise debris, sewage fears

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The last couple of days of heavy rain have pushed lake and river levels back up. At Rouses Point, Lake Champlain is expected to continue rising at least through Thursday, approaching three feet above flood stage.

According to the National Weather Service, that means "widespread severe flooding" will continue, affecting shoreline homes and businesses as well as some local highways. Officials are also warning boaters that the floodwaters have pushed a large amount of floating debris into the lake.

As much as four inches of rain have fallen on parts of the region since Saturday. More rain, though not as heavy, is expected over the next two days.

In Colton and Potsdam, the Raquette River has been flooding since the last week of April, and the damage is estimated at over a million dollars so far. As Nora Flaherty reports, continuing rain is cause for worry.

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Nora Flaherty
Digital Editor, News

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Colton town supervisor Lawrence Patzwald says he’s confident that unless the current rains are heavier than predicted, the water won’t rise substantially.

But Patzwald said he is very concerned about one of the side effects of the flooding: Waters may have damaged many residents’ septic systems—and that means potentially contaminated water supplies. He said there are a few steps people should take:

What they first of all should do is read the information we’ve mailed to them, which gives them a procedure to follow. They should definitely have their water and septic checked once the water’s receded, to make sure everything’s OK and the septic hasn’t gotten into their water system.

It’s still not entirely clear why the Raquette flooding was so much worse than that in other rivers in the area. Brookfield power will hold public meetings in the next few weeks to explore what went wrong. Town officials don’t yet know whether the areas will be eligible for aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. 

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