GLOVERSVILLE — Approximately $50,000 will fund a flood mitigation study in Gloversville.
The study, supported by the state Department of Environmental Conservation, will take a closer look at flood-proofing brownfields — post-industrial contamination sites — along the Cayadutta and Mill creeks.
Gloversville was among 14 grant recipients which collectively received $600,000 from the DEC’s Mohawk River Basin Program. The city will provide 10% of project funding and the rest will come from the state, according to Mayor Vincent DeSantis.
He isn’t certain when the city will put out a bid for an engineering contractor.
“We’ve never had a lot of problems with flooding here mostly,” said DeSantis. “But it would be great to have real knowledge as to exactly the steps that we can take to prevent it because in the future we’re looking at more severe weather and you want to make sure that you’re resilient to that.”
Sourced from Bleecker Mountain, the Cayadutta Creek starts around West Bush in the town of Johnstown, connects with the Gloversville-only Mill Creek around Transit Road and eventually empties into the Mohawk River in Montgomery County.
Surrounding the creeks are nearly 200 acres of land designated as Brownfields Opportunity Areas — properties predominantly associated with the city’s once-thriving leatherstocking sector.
Processing leather gloves required the use of toxic chemicals such as formaldehyde, arsenic and chromium. Afterwards, waste was tossed into area waterways, clearing out fish, leaving rank odors to permeate through the streets and causing generations of residents to avoid groundwater consumption.
Environmental remediation has been a decades-long process. Since 2019, the city has received more $1 million in government funding to identify and clean up contaminated properties.
Now, many of the properties are ripe for redevelopment, DeSantis maintained.
“It’s important to have detailed information for these developers on flood risk and to actually be in a position to be able to apply for funding for measures that will mitigate or eliminate the risk of flooding, which makes developers of new construction feel much more comfortable,” said DeSantis.
Violent torrents have ripped Cayadutta Creek in the past. Notably, several Fulmont area residents, bridges and tanneries were washed away during a 15-foot surge in 1889. The flood caused between $30,000 to $100,000 in damages ($996 million to more than $3.3 million today) and multiple fatalities.
Wide stretches of land at the base of the Mohawk Valley lie within floodplain territory. Typically, flash floods surge from Mohawk tributaries rather than the 149-mile river itself.
This includes the East Canada Creek, a familiar source of flooding for residents in Fulton, Herkimer and Hamilton counties. Dolgeville village has been subject to six major storms in the last 20 years, resulting in millions of dollars in damages.