People do not listen. They do not know when they are in trouble and need to do something. We have a situation in my little village that is causing a big riff and issues. I am amazed at the shortsightedness of people and the easily swayed political officials.
We are surrounded by the Erie Canal. It goes right through the heart of the village and on to the neighboring suburbs. It is what makes my village so quaint and desirable. We have waterfront. The canal is actually higher than the surround neighborhoods on one side.
When the canal was built, they shored up the sides with a process they called a dam. It is different than a bank which is level with the canal and surrounding area. A dam is higher than the surrounding land. Without going into a lot of detail, it is basically layered rocks and soil. It was built in a specific way to be supportive. It was not built however to support trees and bushes. They are the issue.
For the early years of the canal, the dams were kept clear. No trees and bushes. If you look at old pictures, you can see this. Where I live, in the early years, the lands surrounding the canal were farm land. There were one or two major properties with acreage. Now the land supports hundreds of houses. They are technically in a flood plain. Many of the properties who have the canal in their backyard have many trees and shrubs for privacy. They do not own the land, the Canal Authority does.
The trees and bushes undermine the dams. The Canal Authority is looking at doing a clear cut and removing the trees and shrubs. In doing so will expose the properties to the public who use the canal path for recreation. It is beautiful to glide down the canal in a boat or ride your bike on the path. It is heavily used in this area. The removal will expose all the properties lining the path. The vegetation is mostly invasive plants and trees also. That is why there is so much overgrowth.
Some of the wealthiest people live along the canal. Some people have petitioned to stop the cutting and cleaning up of the dam embankments. They won recently putting a halt on the process for now. Stupid is as stupid does.
Several years ago, the canal split opened and poured out its water into the low lying area down from my village. So many houses had four and five feet of water in them. Fortunately, the canal was “drained” but it still had at least three feet of water in it. It was a stretch of the canal that is actually concrete because it goes over a stream. The supporting soil and sand washed out and the concrete was not supported and a fell into the stream below, flooding the neighborhood.
I used to live in a neighborhood that is below a major portion of the canal. The canal actually bends around the neighborhood. When I bought my property almost thirty years ago, the basement was dry. There was no sump pump. The basement in time became very damp. We had to run a de-humidifier. In the fifteen years living there, I noticed more dampness every year. One time, the soil in the back of the house right up on the foundation washed away. That wall in the basement was constantly damp. No one knew why it was because there was no gutter draining there or other water source on the property. I remember that the person we called to look at the basement said that there were a lot of people in the area who were having basement water issues in the neighborhood. He said it was because the water table had increased in the area due to the canal leaking. I moved into the village shortly after that. (Not for that reason)
I feel like I am in a movie when it comes to this subject. This is a disaster waiting to happen. The Johnston Flood that killed hundreds was caused by an earthen dam that collapsed, much like what it on this section of the Erie Canal. And much like the Johnston flood, a select few very wealthy men knew of the possibility and did nothing. I have been involved with a core of people who are writing petitions and posting information. I pray that someone will listen and save everyone from a disaster.