BERLIN – While residents will still see some flooding, water should be receding faster thanks to recent stormwater projects in Berlin.
On Monday, Darl Kolar of EA Engineering Science and Technology Inc. provided municipal officials with an update of stormwater improvements in Berlin. Mayor Gee Williams encouraged Kolar to describe recent work as well as future expectations regarding stormwater.
“People need to know what we are going to end up with after spending $2 million,” Williams said. “Nobody has heard what is supposed to be the final result after two and a half years.”
In his presentation, Kolar described the culvert replacement project on Flower Street as well as the construction of offline wetlands behind the Flower Street Multi-Purpose Building. He also talked about Hudson Branch improvements near Showell Street. Williams said residents of the neighborhood remained concerned about erosion in that area.
Kolar explained that the culvert replacement would address the flooding problem there and that a bank stabilization would be performed by the town’s staff.
“We do have a plan for that,” Kolar said.
Kolar also discussed the replacement of the culvert on William Street, a project that is nearing completion, as well as plans for stormwater management upgrades in the area of Cedar Avenue, Maple Drive and Pine Street. Those upgrades will include the replacement of the existing storm drain conveyance system. That, Kolar said, will double the water flow capacity and reduce flooding in the area. The project is expected to start in November and be complete in January.
Williams pointed out that many of the stormwater projects so far had involved increasing the size of culverts and pipes meant to carry stormwater. He asked if that was something that would need to be done elsewhere in town in the future and encouraged Kolar to share more on what residents could expect moving forward.
“We need, as elected public servants, to be able to explain what we’ve gotten done, where we are, what we need to do next…,” Williams said. “Don’t forget who we’re working for. If they support this we can get things done.”
Councilman Elroy Brittingham asked Kolar whether the large offline wetland off Flower Street was working as it should. Kolar explained that it was, as water from storm events would collect there rather than in residents’ yards. He added that the stormwater improvements would not increase the water in Hudson Branch.
“The water is getting there regardless of whether it’s going over the road or around the road…,” he said. “What our improvements are trying to do is get it there through the proper channels which is under the road or through the conveyance pipe.”
Councilman Zack Tyndall praised the recent stormwater projects but said he’d heard from concerned residents in the area of Quillen Drive, Ann Drive and Davis Court. He suggested the town’s stormwater team develop a plan to address flooding in those areas.
“I’m getting a lot of pressure from those residents,” Tyndall said. “If we could begin getting a little attention on that area, I’d really appreciate it.”
Jane Kreiter, the town’s director of water resources and public works, said that neighborhood was one of the town’s high priority areas and that site visits had already taken place.