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September 20, 2019Cart

Business

by Westchester County Business Journal
by WCBJ

Ossining retaining wall collapse prompts countywide review

The collapse of a 40-foot retaining wall in downtown Ossining has prompted Westchester County to inspect and determine the safety of county-owned retaining walls.

No one was injured due to the collapse on the evening of Aug. 13 at the intersection of Main Street and Secor Road, although three families near the area were evacuated from their homes, Ossining officials said.

A view of the collapsed wall. Photo courtesy of the Ossining Police Department

Red Cross members were on site and assisted the families, according to Ossining Mayor Victoria Gearity, who added that those families were back in their homes by the next evening.

Part of the collapse landed on and damaged the American Pumping facility at 60 Main St., officials said. The recently constructed apartment buildings at 80 Main St., which are above the collapsed wall, were undamaged.

Gearity said the next steps for stabilizing the wall will be coordinated by the insurance companies and attorneys retained by the owners of 60 and 80 Main St.

Ossining officials said they are awaiting a report from village engineers to determine what caused the collapse.

Following the incident, Westchester County Executive George Latimer directed the county’s Department of Public Works to inspect and determine the safety of county-owned retaining walls.

“What we saw in Ossining overnight should be a warning to all governments that advance preparation for possible problems saves time, money and energy in the long run,” Latimer said. “That is why I am issuing this directive, it is imperative that we ensure the safety of all our residents who could be impacted by this type of emergency.”

Latimer noted that the county has “several well-built retaining walls on its properties which have stood up to stretches of rain similar to the one our region has experienced, even standing up through the worst of Superstorm Sandy.”

Department of Public Works and Transportation Commissioner Hugh J. Greechan Jr.  said his department is in “constant communication” with road maintenance staff, the parks department and facility managers to monitor retaining walls.

“We do not anticipate any issues, but are prepared for all circumstances,” he said.

The wall’s collapse was the second incident to affect the village of Ossining on Aug. 13. Earlier in the day, an oil spill shut down a section of Main Street. Gearity said officials from the state Department of Environmental Conservation were on site following the spill.

“According to initial reports, it appears that the swift action to contain the spill prevented contamination of our stormwater system,” she said in an email.