William Naughton Reflects on Superstorm Sandy on its One-Year Anniversary
October 29 marks the one-year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy, which prompted the largest emergency management operation in the Town of Huntington’s history. Superintendent of Highways William Naughton, whose crews removed more than 530,000 cubic yards of debris that clogged town roadways following the storm, reflected on the calamitous event this week.
“Thanks to the efforts of conscientious and dedicated town employees and contractors, we were able to cope well with Superstorm Sandy,” said Naughton. “I remain grateful to our residents for their patience and understanding as the town grappled with this storm of unprecedented magnitude.”
The superintendent of highways noted that during the cleanup more than 19,000 truckloads of material was removed, documented, and photographed in order to ensure that Huntington taxpayers would be able to recover expenses incurred for the cleanup from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and New York State. A number of debris transfer sites and final disposal sites were utilized, with as much as 12,000-cubic yards of debris being trucked to them daily, he added. Aided by the extensive record-keeping, cataloging of more than 50,000 digital photographs, and the digital archiving of more than 250 gigabytes of data, the town has already submitted reimbursement documentation for more than $30 million, according to Naughton. “To put this in perspective, the annual budget for the highway office is about $34 million,” he noted.
“Emergency preparedness and ensuring employee safety have been hallmarks of the highway office’s operations,” said Naughton. “He noted that “No town employees were injured on the job during this emergency, although there was certainly the potential for that.” Citing the cleanup effort in the wake of Tropical Storm Irene the previous year, Naughton said grappling with that provided good training for last year’s storm of much more epic proportions. To be prepared, he and others in the highway office have already reviewed plans for future emergency cleanups.
“Although many of our residents were inconvenienced as a result of Superstorm Sandy — amid power outages and fallen trees and limbs — we were much more fortunate than some people on Long Island’s South Shore and in parts of New York City and New Jersey,” said Naughton. “Many of these communities suffered terrible structural damage and are continuing to clean up and rebuild in the wake of this epic storm. Our hearts go out to those who are still recovering from Superstorm Sandy.