Weekend Storm Highlights Berlin’s Flooding Trouble Spots

Weekend Storm Highlights Berlin’s Flooding Trouble Spots
The Powell Circle area is pictured last Saturday morning after multiples inches of rain fell overnight. Photo by Jessica Conaway

BERLIN – Standing water in Franklin Knoll and off West Street during last weekend’s rain again highlighted the town’s drainage problems.

While it’s no surprise the significant amount of rain that fell Friday night into Saturday resulted in some flooding, it emphasized ongoing stormwater challenges within Berlin.

“We remain committed to our stormwater program,” Mayor Zack Tyndall said. “The difficulty is we have to operate within the revenues we have.”

As a reported four inches of rain fell Friday into Saturday, Berlin experienced flooding in the usual places, including Powell Circle, Abbey Lane and in the area of Graham, Grice and Nelson. Tyndall said another issue the town had to deal with during heavy rainfall was an increase in the amount of water that needed to be treated at the wastewater treatment plant.

“We’re going to take a closer look at that moving forward,” Tyndall said.

Councilman Jack Orris said residents sent him photos of flooding in various areas and that he’d met with some people to talk about their neighborhood flooding problems.

“I’ve also asked our town administrator to have the town’s engineering firm present to the council after the new year so that we can ask more questions and gain further information regarding stormwater,” Orris said. “Nothing happens overnight, but I for one continue to consider this one of my top concerns.”

Councilman Jay Knerr said he too wanted to see improvements made. He drove out to Powell Circle Saturday to see what residents there experienced during heavy rain events.

“Both ends of the street were under water,” he said. “It’s pretty bad.”

He said he’d also heard concerns regarding flooding at Jamestown Place, where water overflows into the parking lot during heavy rainfall.

“I don’t know what the issue is but it needs to be looked at,” he said.

He pointed out though that stormwater improvements like the ones the town had planned would take a significant amount of money.

“It’ll take time but we’ll get there,” he said. “It’s unfortunate residents have to live with this.”

Tyndall echoed the concern regarding the cost of substantial stormwater projects. He added, however, that some of the town’s recent major projects did seem to be having a positive impact.

“From what I saw the improvements at Flower Street, at Henry Park and the Multi-Purpose Building, held up very well,” he said. “It’s nice to see when we make a big capital investment like that they work out as intended.”

The mayor said that moving forward, the town would remain focused on its planned stormwater projects but would also look for small ways to decrease flooding. Things like ditch maintenance and similar small-scale initiatives could ease some of the drainage problems.

“We’re trying to remain committed to the same projects but also look at ditches and troubled areas to see if there’s anything we can do,” Tyndall said.

Tyndall said the town would continue to pursue grants to help fund capital projects. In October, the town’s stormwater consultant said Berlin would be seeking grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help with projects planned for the area of Nelson, Franklin and Pines streets as well as the area of West Street and Abbey Lane.

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.