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Hoses spewed gallon after gallon of water pumped from the basements of residents in the Smith Road neighborhood of Wawarsing this week.  Photo by Brian Rubin
Pump and Circumstance
Flood Season Kicks Off on Smith Road

WAWARSING Now that the skies have decided to deliver practically weekly precipitation storms in the form of snow and pouring rain, it's the ground's turn to bring local residents trouble in the form of flooding. And nowhere is this problem more actively scrutinized than the stretch of the Hamlet of Wawarsing that many residents believe is victim to the leaking Delaware Aqueduct.

"We're still pumping, and we don't know how long it's going to last," said Laura Smith on Monday afternoon, as the rain was winding down. Smith is one of the primary residents spearheading the initiative to look into the aqueduct's role in the regular flooding experienced by about 30 homeowners in the Smith Road neighborhood.

"That's the big question: how long is this going to last? The rain is pretty much over with, and we didn't really get that much rain. This was very much a coastal storm. We did get rain, but we didn't get two, three, four inches, which would constitute pumping."

Smith said that the two electric pumps she and her husband Steve set up to handle the water seeping in from their basement floor weren't enough, so they had to break out the gas-powered pump to get the water out of their house.

"It was a repeated nightmare, is all it was," she said. "But we're seasoned veterans, and we're prepared, and we're handling it well. And we're still handling it."

That afternoon, drainage hoses and large pools of water could be seen lining the street and the surrounding area, in much greater abundance than any of the other areas nearby. Smith's driveway was completely submerged, with a blue hose pushing yet more water into the newly created pool leading up to their house.

Currently, there is legislation introduced by State Senator John Bonacic wending its way through Albany that could provide $4 million to buy out homes that are afflicted in this area. Before that becomes reality, however, a companion bill would have to clear the assembly as well, which has yet to be announced.

"We're waiting to see what that is all about," said Smith of the bill. "It's good that it passed the senate. There are some people that are very optimistic, but we don't know any of the details. So for anybody to get their hopes up is a little premature at this point."

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