DEP to pony up $300,000 to fix Gilboa Dam sirens

This just in from the New York City Department of Environmental Protection: The DEP is putting $300,000 towards fixing Schoharie County’s emergency siren system for Gilboa Dam.

The sirens were functional during Hurricane Irene on August 38, and were activated when floodwaters began spilling over the top of the Gilboa Dam, threatening communities downstream. Much of Schoharie County was evacuated that day.

The following week, when storms fueled by Hurricane Lee threatened to flood the Schoharie Valley again, the sirens were no longer functional, and Schoharie County emergency workers resorted to making reverse-911 calls to county residents living in low-lying areas to order them to evacuate a second time.

The DEP is expecting that some of its $300,000 outlay to fix the sirens will be reimbursed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Read the full press release from the DEP about the dam siren repairs below:

Statement from Commissioner Strickland

On DEP’s $300,000 of Assistance to Schoharie County Toward Repair of Emergency Alarm System

“Our utmost priority is making sure our dams are safe. Gilboa Dam has been and remains safe and DEP wants to make sure Schoharie County’s emergency sirens are in working order in the event of another hurricane or an unforeseen event. It is critical that the community near the dam is always prepared and this is a step toward getting the county’s sirens up and running again as soon as possible.”

DEP will assist with $300,000 toward the repair of Schoharie County’s emergency siren system for Gilboa Dam, with money anticipated to be reimbursed by FEMA for infrastructure damage. Based on higher-than-predicted amounts of rain and other factors during Hurricane Irene, DEP triggered the Emergency Action Plan and alerted county and local officials to take the precautionary steps of evacuating the flood zone. Residents who could hear the dam sirens moved to higher ground by following the posted evacuation routes by the county. Gilboa Dam, which was structurally safe beforehand and undergoing a scheduled $350 million upgrade, remains sound.

DEP manages the city’s water supply, providing more than one billion gallons of water each day to more than nine million residents, including eight million in New York City, and residents of Ulster, Orange, Putnam and Westchester counties. New York City’s water is delivered from the Catskill, Delaware, and Croton watersheds that extend more than 125 miles from the City, and comprises 19 reservoirs, and three controlled lakes. The DEP police protect the watershed and its facilities, including seven wastewater treatment plants. For more information, visit or follow us on Facebook at