Flooding Solutions Elude Berlin Officials

BERLIN – Flooding problems in the town of Berlin need to be taken in hand, but the town’s elected officials have not concluded how to tackle the problem.

Berlin Mayor Tom Cardinale wants to get a committee together to create a plan of action.

“It’s three, almost four years and $75,000 later,” Cardinale said, referring to the Army Corps of Engineers stormwater flooding report, completed in 2007.

Cardinale wants to put together a small committee with wastewater, stormwater, construction and other experts. He has already found two members, John Ross, deputy director of Worcester County public works, who is in charge of county wastewater operations, and local developer Troy Purnell.

 “You need people with expertise,” Cardinale said.

The committee would take a lot of the work off the shoulders of staff, particularly Berlin Administrative Director Linda Bambary.

“This would be a help to her and a help to the town. Otherwise, the report just sits on a desk and collects dust,” Cardinale said.

Councilwoman Paula Lynch added, “If they just read the report, they’ve got a year’s work.”

The committee should focus on beginning the work at West St., Cardinale said.

“We’re going to start upstream with the problem? That’s going to cause more flooding,” Councilwoman Ellen Lang said.

According to the report, Cardinale said, starting at the West St. flooding hot spot would correct problems up the line.

Councilman Dean Burrell offered another way to get the work done. Stormwater management needs to be an integrated system, and the work probably needs to be undertaken by a professional, he said.

“When an upgrade is considered, it has to be not a section upgrade but a consideration for the entire system,” Burrell said. “Some things you just have to pay for.”

Burrell said he does not want to see flooding become someone else’s mess down the line.

“The problem has plagued the town of Berlin for so long,” Burrell said. “We have the infrastructure and we need a plan of how to proceed. This problem could be so devastating and has been around so long that the consideration of professional expertise in developing this plan could be warranted and worth considering.”

The council made no decision on how to proceed.

“I don’t think I’ll be alive to see it finished, but I’d like to see it started,” said Cardinale.