Picente: State Grant Funds Sauquoit Creek Cleanup

Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente, Jr., today announced that Oneida County has been awarded a National Emergency Grant through the New York State Department of Labor to assist in efforts to remove debris from Sauquoit Creek and its tributaries as the result of damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee in the summer of 2011.

“In addition to the short-term havoc caused by the flooding, there were extensive deposits of debris and garbage all along the creek and its tributaries. We need to be out there to clean up this debris before there are more storms and the debris and garbage lead to more flooding as well as possible contamination of the creek,” Picente said. “I want to thank Governor Cuomo and State Labor Commissioner Colleen Gardner for this assistance, because the magnitude of what must be cleaned up would go above and beyond the resources of the communities along the creek. I also want to thank all of the members of the Sauquoit Creek Basin Intermunicipal Commission (SCBIC), because without this intermunicipal collaborative structure in place, we might not have been able to secure the funding needed to undertake this project. This is another instance where cooperation and collaboration have shown their worth.”

The grant will reimburse the County for up to $405,728 to purchase the necessary equipment, personal safety gear and for project supervision during the project in addition to approximately $400,000 allocated by the NYS Department of Labor and Workforce Development to hire 30-35 temporary workers.

The main focus of the cleanup will be loose debris and garbage along the twenty six miles of creek and then surrounding tributaries to the creek.  Removal of the debris will be done by hand and with hand-operated tools under the guidance of foremen from members of the SCBIC and heavy equipment provided by SCBIC municipalities. The SCBIC plans on spending the next four months clearing the creek in the Towns of Paris, New Hartford and Whitestown along with associated villages in each Town until September 30, 2012 when the contract with NYS DOL ends. The grant will be administered by the Oneida County Department of Public Works.

The Sauquoit Creek Basin Intermunicipal Commission was officially formed in 2004 to look for ways to reduce flooding and its associated damages along the Sauquoit Creek and the surrounding basin.  The Sauquoit Creek Basin Intermunicipal Commission currently includes the Town and Village of New Hartford, the Town of Whitestown, Town of Paris and the Villages of New York Mills, Whitesboro, and Yorkville.