"Water was knee deep in the street," says Jack Sterling, Ilion Department of Public Works supervisor.
"Hurricane Irene, Tropical Storm Lee, this community was devastated by those floods," says Jim Tierney, NYSDEC Assistant Commissioner.
It's been a little over a year since the floods. Jack Sterling is a supervisor for Ilion's Department of Public Works. He says he'll always remember the day.
"Water was going into homes, the fire and police department were evacuating people, there cellars were flooded, it was just chaotic," says Sterling
But DEC officials want to lessen this chaos by preparing Mohawk Valley residents before disaster strikes.
"Find ways to set things up so on the landscape, water is held, slowed down, spread out, soak it in," says Tierney.
DEC held a panel this afternoon to discuss their new working group called Mighty Waters Working Group. Tierney says it's a 4-step plan.
"1 is flood hazard mitigation, 2 is economic development, 3 is environmental sustainability, and 4 is community revitalization," says Tierney.
But Ilion residents who were hit hard by the flood last year, are weary of the program. They say flood crews caused more harm then help.
"Crews came in and did a bunch of work on the creek behind us," says Shawn McGraw, Ilion resident.
"We've lived here 42 years and Steele Creek had never gone over, ever," says Joyce Steele, Ilion resident.
"After they did all that work, we had about 3 foot of water in the basement for the first time in probably about 30 years," says McGraw.
Regardless, DEC is asking Mohawk Valley community members to speak up. They say they want to hear from residents in this area.
"We're gonna rely on these communities to partner with us, to be able to risk their risk, their exposure to flooding," Alexander Smith, NYSDEC environmental analyst.
DEC officials say there are no ways to prevent floods but there are ways to prepare.