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Tottenville Residents Say Temporary Berm Installed to Protect from Storms is Eroding

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TWC News: Tottenville Residents Say Temporary Berm Installed to Protect from Storms is Eroding
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Tottenville homeowners are worried that a man-made protective wall that's meant to give residents living on Staten Island's shoreline an added buffer against the ocean won't be able to withstand the threat of any future storms. NY1's Amanda Farinacci filed the following report.

Amelia Lindauer gets nervous every time the forecast calls for rain. She went through Hurricane Sandy at her home in Tottenville, just 500 feet from the Raritan Bay. She said the temporary berms meant to protect her street from rising water just aren't cutting it.

"If you look and see what's going on now, just from that rain storm that we had two weeks ago, the integrity of the berms is shot, and all we need is to get hit by another rainstorm, and more of it is going to leave," Lindauer said.

The Department of Parks and Recreation installed the 13-foot berm last year at a cost of $3 million. It was meant as an emergency measure until a permanent solution is put into place.
It stretches 5,000 feet along the shoreline, reinforced with special sand bags called Trap Bags.

Walk along the shoreline, though, and it's obvious that the berm is already taking a beating from the ocean.

"Now what? We're really very, in a very fragile position," Lindauer said.

Lindauer said a rainstorm last month caused the Trap Bags to collapse. Much of the sand that covered them has washed away, and in some sections, the beach is nearly gone.

The Department of Parks and Recreation says inspectors visit the berms regularly to survey for damage and make repairs, but it's not clear how recent the last inspection was.

The Army Corps of Engineers is working on a risk reduction study for Staten Island. That study will investigate long-term solutions for protecting the shoreline, though its results aren't expected until sometime later this year.

That's time that Lindauer says she doesn't have. Hurricane season begins next month.

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