Rhinebeck approves funds for new landfill drainage system

Pipes to lower water level would circumvent beaver dam problem, avoid contamination

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After months of uncertainty, the town of Rhinebeck stands ready to tackle its beaver problem.

At its April 8 meeting, the Rhinebeck Town Board passed a resolution to spend approximately $3,000, before the cost of labor, to create a pond drainage system that would level the water at the old landfill on Stone Church Road, which has been steadily rising thanks to a pair of pesky beavers.

The beavers have been clogging water flow through the now-defunct landfill, causing drainage issues and the water table to rise. While a seal placed over the landfill still appears to be in good condition, the rising water levels can cause waste material to drain off, causing a potential health hazard.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation has warned the town that it must remedy the issue.

The board passed a resolution in February allocating $5,000 to trap the beavers, but the members could not agree on the best way to move forward. So the beavers were never trapped.

Now, the board appears ready to move forward with an alternative method of solving the problem. The process involves laying three drainage pipes directly through the dam.

“The ditch to take this installation requires digging a couple of feet deep in a swamp and thru the beaver dam,” board member Bruce Washburn wrote in an email to his fellow trustees that was included in the resolution on the action.

While the cost is estimated at $3,000, the number is not final, and exactly who will be doing the digging and how it will be done has yet to be exactly determined.

“It’s going to depend on what kind of kind of excavator we can get,” Washburn said at the April 8 meeting.

The board had originally wanted to take care of the beavers directly with Havahart traps, but the time to legally trap them under DEC regulations ended on April 1.

Highway Department Superintendent Kathy Kinsella offered assistance for the project, but added that her department has already taken on a number of projects for the summer, so it may be difficult to find the time.

The 8.5-acre landfill—in a DEC wetland near the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome—was established in the 1950s and closed in 1997.

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