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DeWitt encouraging residents to ‘Save the Rain’ with rain barrel program

Free rain barrels to be provided to Park Hill and Franklin Park residents

— Over the last few years, DeWitt Supervisor Ed Michalenko has been getting an outpouring of calls from residents whose basements have been flooding.

And Michalenko said it’s no coincidence. Before the year 2000, the town of DeWitt never received more than four inches of rain in a 24-hour period. But since then, the town has had rainfalls totaling more than four inches five or six times in a 24-hour period.

It doesn’t help that Ley Creek and Sanders Creek flow right through the northern neighborhoods of the town – Michalenko said that the Franklin Park and Park Hill neighborhoods are among the more problematic areas when it comes to flooding.

“Ley Creek is very flat – it’s not your typical watershed,” he said. “So because it’s very flat, a lot of water tends to flood. And normally we want water to go into the ground, but in neighborhoods like [Park Hill and Franklin Park], it’s already flooding into the basements. Which is why we’re introducing the rain barrel program.”

The town of DeWitt received a grant from Onondaga County’s Save the Rain program after applying due to these flooding issues. DeWitt will be teaming up with the Onondaga Environmental Institute and the Center of Excellence to implement the rain barrel program – and because Michalenko also serves as president of OEI, he wants to make the project as transparent as possible.

“I’m donating my time because this is in the best interest of the residents of DeWitt. We’re able to tap into county resources since we’re the grant in to get this help,” Michalenko said. “Otherwise it’d be a cost stuck on the backs of homeowners… this is something OEI has been engaged in for a long period of time – we’ve been knowledgeable to the best management practices in storm water management controls for 30 plus years.”

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