AFTER THE DELUGE: Lockport recovers from a memorable storm

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Jul. 22—Jonathan Schultz has been director of emergency management service for Niagara County for about 10 years. His job can be a tough one but, he says, it gets easier in times of crisis because of volunteers and professionals all chipping in.

Schultz stood outside the Lockport Wastewater Treatment Plant on Wednesday as he spoke after checking on pumps loaned to the facility to help resolve a flooded basement in the administration building. The basement was but one casualty of the Tuesday evening storm that dumped up to 6 inches of rain over the greater Lockport area.

"In 10 years on the job, I've never seen rain like that," Schultz said. "It flooded in places I didn't know could flood. We still have crews out right now pumping basements."

Mayor Michelle Roman said the flooding at the wastewater administration building occurred because of an open vent. Eighteen Mile Creek overflowed and surrounded the building but the treatment plant never stopped working, she said.

Among the damages reported in the city, Roman said, seven trees were lost due to the combination of saturated roots and heavy wind. Lockport Fire Department received about 120 calls and personnel were still pumping out basements on Wednesday afternoon.

Police directed traffic for the duration of the storm and helped motorists who tried to go through water and got stuck, Roman said.

The city will be documenting storm-related overtime and is working on an agreement with Modern Disposal for a special bulk trash collection.

Schultz said the county will be tabulating accrued costs as well as damages reported by citizens in hope of receiving disaster relief.

"We definitely have millions in damages across the county," he said, "that's for sure."

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