New York has taken quite the hit from weather this summer, including flooding across the state that has caused damage for many businesses and property owners.

It’s raised the question about weather-ready infrastructure.

One of those property owners affected is hardware store owner Dennis Tremont. He experienced quite the loss in July when Rensselaer County had an unexpected rainfall of over five inches in one night.

What You Need To Know

  • Tremont Hardware lost more than $300,000 in product during the summer flooding

  • The House of Representatives is nearing a vote for a $1 trillion infrastructure bill

  • Residents looking to do the work themselves will have to apply for a permit from the Department of Environmental Conservation

“Not including the building, just the inventory, there’s a couple hundred thousand dollars’ worth of inventory lost,” Tremont said.

The rain water flooded the creek that neighbors his store property, with excess water entering his store and even carrying away product with it. The creek has been an issue before, flooding his property multiple times. But this time, Dennis will handle the problem himself.

“We fixed this part here, but it continues and it needs to be further fixed as we go down the creek,” Tremont said. “Trying to get an agency that’s responsible for maintaining the creek is close to impossible.”

Even after offering to fix the water flow issue himself, the state didn’t make it any easier. Just getting a permit to do the job was a long process, and the bill to make the changes was hard to stomach.

“You can get a permit, but the engineering cost is going to cost you 25 times more than the job you’re going to do. That’s why we an agency to fix it,” Tremont said.

Business and land owners like Dennis are tired of seeing damage done to their property. The issue of weather infrastructure dates back to Hurricane Sandy, warranting the question when it will change, if it ever does.

Environmentalists like Judith Enck, who’s worked on a response to weather change in her research, says these storms will only continue to test our infrastructure.

“Yes, it’s as if we haven’t learned our lessons of Hurricane Irene and Sandy. The climate crisis is here, and that includes intense weather. Is our infrastructure ready for that? In the Capital Region, I’d argue no,” Enck said.

From the flooding that took place this summer in Rensselaer County to the effects of Hurricane Ida felt across the state, Enck said changes need to be made.

“This is our new normal; we need to acknowledge it, we need to plan for it,” Enck said.

Tremont also wants to know who’s going to help make the change before the next disaster.

“Everyone doesn’t have the money, and it’s somebody else’s responsibility. We are trying to find the somebody else,” Tremont said.