On October 5, Dianne Philipps (Executive Director of Rockland County Sewer District Number 1) met with three people from Airmont to answer questions concerning the sewer overflows at several locations. Attending were Anthony Valenti (Airmont Trustee), Brian Brooker (Village Engineer) and Ronald Glisci (member of Airmont Quality of life Committee). Ms. Philipps, Mr Brooker, Mr. Valenti, and Mr. Glisci are all engineers).
Ms. Philipps was originally scheduled to appear before a public meeting of the Airmont Village Board, but she backed out at the last minute. The details of that event and questions remaining can be read here.
In this private meeting, the questions ranged over several situations and you can read the entire report here. A brief look at the conclusions presents a disturbing situation. The RCSD#1 is offering guidance to planning boards about future growth without the necessary data to make realistic projections. Worse, the agency is trying to maintain a system that impacts directly on public health issues without essential information.
Mr. Glisci (an environmental engineer who helped design sewer systems on Long Island) concludes at one point:
As new development continues unabated in Ramapo:
1. The determination of whether or not the existing sewer lines are capable of handling the increased flow appear to be made without knowledge or consideration of the actual current flow in the lines that will receive the increased flow. No flow measurement has been done.
2. There is currrently no system in place by which additional flow from new development is cumulatively quantified. No one is adding up the flows from the already approved developments. No one knows how much flow we now have in the main sewer lines. No one can determine which project will be the one that officially overloads the sewers.
3. The RCSD states that the capability to conduct meaningful flow measurement to determine sewer line capacity is not known.
The system was originally designed to serve about half the population that exists in Rockland today.
Further, the RCSD did object to the added capacity that St. Lawrence's Master Plan would add to the system, but a second review suddenly agreed that the system could handle the new flows. Mr. Glisci's group asked the Director what happened in between the first objection by one of the engineers and the sudden reversal in a consequent meeting (was there repair work, new planned capacity, re-evaluation of data?). The response was "I don't know, but I'll get back to you." She has not gotten back to the committee.
Finally, the Director admitted that illegal hookups are stressing the system, but RCSD does not try to find and close down these hookups.
Read the full report, and then look over the spreadsheet of the spills in Ramapo on the Philipps update page.