Updated 08/18/2012 09:51 AM
DEP pumps more money to Wawarsing flooding victims
New York City officials continue to try and remedy the city's leaking Delaware Aqueduct in the Town of Wawarsing. Christian Farrell has more on the latest financial package being made available to some local residents.
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WAWARSING, N.Y. -- "We cannot stay in this house. It's physically, and emotionally, and financially just crippling us," said Wawarsing resident Laura Smith.
Smith has been on the frontlines in the attempt to fix the continuous flooding problems in the Town of Wawarsing. But her Smith Road residence won't be her home for much longer. She's accepted an offer from the Ulster County buyout program.
However, some residents choosing to stay in their homes damaged by the leaking Delaware Aqueduct received good news Friday. The DEP announced more than $12 million in additional funding.
"This will provide an alternative for those who want to stay in the Wawarsing area and keep an intact community," said Paul Rush, Department of Environmental Protection Deputy Commissioner for Water Supply.
Seven million dollars will go toward extending the Napanoch Water District to include 275 more homes and $5.5million to repair homes ravaged by a leaking underground concrete tunnel supplying half of New York City's drinking water.
Ulster County Legislative Chairman Terry Bernardo says the money is long overdue.
"The bottom line is that people just want justice. These residents aren't asking for anything that's unreasonable. Their homes have been damaged by a tunnel that's leaking millions of gallons of water a day," said Bernardo.
"Nobody should have to live under these conditions. Nobody," said Smith.
Residents who already accepted the county's buyout program, like Smith, won't see any of that Money. Their homes will be leveled and the property will never be built on again.
But Smith says she's okay with that, saying she's just happy she'll be leaving her Smith Road memories behind her.
"I trust my gut feeling. And my gut feeling is the same as my husband's right now. That if we have an option we're going to take it," said Smith.