SCARSDALE, N.Y. – It took upwards of 70 days for Scarsdale to completely recover from Hurricane Sandy, but cleanup efforts were completed this week, according to Superintendent of Public Works Benedict Salanitro.
Salanitro gave a presentation at Tuesday night’s Board of Trustees meeting about his department’s operations during the hurricane. He praised the cohesion among the different crews during the storm and spoke about the steps the DPW took before, during and after the hurricane.
Prior to the storm, the DPW coordinated with the police and fire departments, as well as the Scarsdale School District, to alert potential first responders to be on alert with supplies and personnel. As the forecast became more ominous, they took the steps to rent backup generators and prepared the Emergency Operations Center (EOC).
When the storm hit on Oct. 29, the DPW was busy answering phones and preparing the important information for first responders in the field. During the first two days, the EOC ran on a 24-hour basis, from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. until Nov. 2 and on eight-hour shifts until Nov. 9 when it was closed.
Salanitro said that the EOC averaged 250 calls per day, and the highway, garage, sanitation, water and other divisions worked as one to aid the village.
“We issued alerts about street openings and closings, and worked with the police department several times daily to update the critical infrastructure of the village,” he said. “This was a critical effort, because the personnel could not navigate through certain sections of the community due to the closures. It proved successful and was helpful for the schools as well.”
During the storm, 7,700 tons of debris was collected, which is 90 percent of what is annually collected on average. The village lost approximately 120 trees, which involved 28 road closures. Approximately 150 privately owned trees were also felled, which forced 75 more roads to be closed. An average of 400 tons of material was removed each day following the storm.
“The DPW workforce worked 12 hour days during the first 20 days of the event,” Salanitro said. “The staffing levels were established based on need, and was coordinated with Con Edison and the county Office of Emergency Management.”
The hurricane cost the DPW $530,000 in overtime, equipment rentals and tree contract assistance. Salanitro said that while most residents’ worries ended when power was restored, his department was just beginning.
“When the lights came back on, our job just got started. 70 days after the storm, we finally got it done,” he said. “I was happy to work side by side with these professionals. We provided a high level of efficiency in this type of event.”