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DEC, county say culvert undersized

Town officials disagree, say it's a city issue

North Bethlehem resident Brian Jerry said it was five years ago when he first noticed the Krumkill, running adjacent to his Andover Road property, changing shape.

We had experienced some pretty severe erosion from runoff from stormwater upstream, Jerry said, and the banks of the river were widening into his property.

He called the Town of Bethlehem, and workers came out to examine the situation.

"We were left under the impression that the town was working on our behalf to rectify our concerns about erosion," Jerry said. "Nothing could have been further from the truth, they had just turned their back and walked away."

Now, representatives from the Department of Environmental Conservation and Albany County have visited Jerry's property and issued opinions that point to a culvert under Krumkill Road as the reason for the erosion that is pushing the banks of the river back.

In a letter to Jerry, DEC Stream Protection Biologist Steven Swenson said his assessment of the location indicated the size culvert should be increased to prevent further erosion.

"The banks at the culvert outlet are so undercut that it is my belief that Krumkill Road is at risk of eventual collapse if nothing is done to prevent this," the letter reads in part.

Joseph Slezak, field manager for the Albany County Soil and Water Conservation District, has also examined the location, and said the culvert is too small.

"We went out to the site immediately, and we met with [Jerry] and DEC, and basically just assessed the situation," he said. "It appeared that the culvert was undersized."

Officials in the Town of Bethlehem disagreed, however. Supervisor Sam Messina said he has examined the location along with town staff.

"They don't see an engineering issue with water throughput that would affect that road," he said. "At the present time, it is not clear, precisely, what action should be taken."

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