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Pierrepont’s riverside residents battle rising water

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PIERREPONT — Steven W. and Suellan J. Collins have three pumps running at all times to keep the water from filling the basement of their riverside home.

“The sump pumps are running constantly; the sucker pumps are running 24-7,” Mrs. Collins said. Their cellar is filled with 3 to 4 inches of water, and the pumps are needed to keep it from reaching the furnace.

“We have to keep checking on it. We keep running up and down the cellar stairs to see what we can do. It’s running in as fast as we can take care of it,” she said.

Ice has blocked up stretches of the Raquette River, leaving the water with nowhere to go but up. Homes along riverside roads in Pierrepont have been battling flooding since Tuesday.

Mr. and Mrs. Collins live on T. Alexander Road, one of the hardest-hit areas.

The river was clear just a few days ago, said Steven W. Greene, another resident of T. Alexander Road.

“Normally there’s a current through here and you can see it flowing,” he said.

Mr. Greene lives on a hill, so his house is fine, but the camp next door he rents out in the summer has taken on a lot of water.

He has seen flooding several times since he bought the property in 2008, but never this bad, he said.

Mrs. Collins said flooding was not a regular problem in the past, but in recent years it has taken a turn for the worse.

“In the last three or four years it’s been real bad,” she said. “It seems like it happens at least once a year.”

Locals blame the rising water levels on the Brookfield Renewable Energy Group, which controls the dams along the river.

“They don’t know they need to raise and lower the water constantly so it won’t jam,” Mrs. Collins said. “We have called them every single day to plead with them about the situation.”

Representatives from Brookfield could not be reached for comment Friday afternoon.

“I think it can be more prevented than it has been,” said Richard T. Cristicello, another T. Alexander Road resident. “Everyone’s on the verge of having it come right into their homes.”

Mr. Cristicello received assistance from the Hannawa Falls Fire Department, which helped him lay down sandbags to hold off the rising water.

“Thank God for them. They’re good folks,” he said.

However, their efforts may not be enough to keep his house dry.

“I might just have to get out of here and stay with my son and his wife and kids and pray,” he said. “I hope maybe somebody will be able to help us out on this river.”

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