Waters have yet to recede in parts of Flanders, Jamesport

04/08/2010 12:00 AM |

Tom Amato in his soggy basement on Brookhaven Avenue in Flanders
Wednesday morning. He said FEMA inspectors estimated that flooding
caused $40,000 worth of damages to his home.

Tom Amato of Brookhaven Avenue in Flanders is still dealing with a cracked basement floor, a man-made hole in his foundation for pumps and an overflowing cesspool, all effects of last week’s monster storm.

What’s worse, Mr. Amato, who is collecting unemployment, said his homeowner’s insurance won’t cover the damage, which Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, officials on the scene Tuesday estimated to be more than $40,000.

“I can’t afford this at all,” he lamented Wednesday.

Although Horton Avenue became the ground zero for the worst of the Riverhead area’s flooding, residents on Brookhaven Avenue in Flanders, Manor Lane in Jamesport and elsewhere were still dealing with flooded roads and wet basements more than a week after the storm spun out of the region.

Brookhaven Avenue resident James Daniell, whose finished basement was completely destroyed in the storm, is blaming Southampton Town for not maintaining two sumps on his block, which today look more like ponds than drainage basins.

“I clean it out myself,” he said of the drain to the sump nearest his home.

But Southampton Town Highway Superintendent Alex Gregor blamed the flooding on the road’s slope and a high water-table. He said there is simply no place to pump the water, because it would then flow back downhill into the area of the sumps.

Mr. Gregor, who took office in January, admitted he didn’t know how well the sumps were maintained in the past, but said his department will make sure they’re well taken care of in the future. Still, he added, work can’t start on the sumps until they are dry.

“It’s a storm that usually only hits once every 100 years,” he said, noting that sumps in North Sea, East Quogue and Bridgehampton fared far worse. “We’re doing the best we can just asking for people to bear with us.”

Across the bay, in Jamesport, residents of Fox Lane, located off Manor Lane, say they can’t get out of their street unless they drive through a massive puddle that has persisted there since the storm.

“I can’t get out of my development until I go through that lake,” said Fox Lane resident Carol Higgins. “I understand that other people’s houses have been ruined on Horton Avenue, but this is serious too.”

Ms. Higgins, whose husband requires dialysis treatment, noted her car stalled in the water Sunday and she had to push it out, wading through the muck.

They haven’t had mail delivery in a week, she said, and their calls to Town Hall get switched to answering machines

“Nobody cares,” she said.

Two Jamesport Fire Department crews were pumping water Monday from Manor Lane. The Jamesport Fire Department’s second assistant chief, Sean McCabe, said Jamesport firefighters took the opportunity to do a water-drafting drill while also doing their part to help the town. Fire Department pumps that afternoon were sending water to a nearby sump, as well as south of Manor Lane to Main Road, where it was emptying along the sidewalk.

“One pump is sending water to Main Road and into the storm drains and hopefully into the bay,” Mr. McCabe said. “The ground water is up and unfortunately you can’t do much about Mother Nature. Everything in South Jamesport is flooded.” He said the town had been pumping in South Jamesport as well since last week’s storm.

Highway Department workers again attempted to pump Manor Lane on Tuesday but gave up around noon, residents there said.

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Staff writer Tim Gannon contributed reporting for this article.