Gov. Andrew Cuomo stood in a spot that Hurricane Sandy flooded with eight feet of water last Sunday as he announced that the state would provide $13 million for the installation of both a seawall and a “Dutch dam” system to protect Long Beach’s industrial district from future storm surges.
“Yes, it was a terrible time,” Cuomo said. “Yes, we went through a lot of pain. Yes, people are still suffering. But at the end of the day, the silver lining will be, Long Beach will be a better, smarter, stronger community post-Sandy than it was the day before, and that’s what it’s all about.”
During Sandy, the industrial district — the city’s water treatment plant and storage tower, wastewater treatment plant, electrical substations and a major gas pipeline — was underwater, and had to be shut down for weeks afterward for emergency repairs. The wastewater plant was out of operation for 10 days, officials said, and the water treatment plant was inoperable for nearly three weeks, with periodic outages after that while it was repaired. The city had no electrical power for two weeks.
The facility, which is next to Reynolds Channel, will require significant improvements to protect it from future storms. Representatives of Long Beach’s New York Rising Community Reconstruction Planning Committee brought the project to the state’s attention, and Cuomo, recognizing its importance, decided to fund it.
“Governor Cuomo has been in the forefront of this effort,” said City Council President Scott Mandel. “He was with us days before the storm, and he’s been with us as a constant source of support ever since.”
The project will create a flood barrier around the perimeter of the facility. Its first component is the construction of an 11-foot-high seawall along the bayside of the area, with 2,300 feet of bulkheading extending east and west of the industrial district. The 11-foot elevation is the same height being used in the city’s residential bulkheading program in the Canals and elsewhere on the city’s bayside.