Costly Stormwater Pipe Repair OK’d By Berlin Council

BERLIN – Town officials agreed to move forward with the repair of a stormwater pipe on Washington Street.

The Berlin Town Council on Monday voted unanimously to approve spending up to $110,000 on a stormwater pipe repair at 105 Washington St.

“The owners of that property have been very reasonable but they’ve got an issue smack dab center of their driveway,” Town Administrator Jeff Fleetwood said.

Jamey Latchum, the town’s stormwater and wastewater superintendent, said the pipe had failed and that there were now sinkholes on the property at 105 Washington St. He said he was seeking funding to make the repair and to do modeling to determine how the repair would impact the surrounding area.

Darl Kolar of EA Engineering Science and Technology Inc. said the town would need to get approval from the Maryland Department of the Environment before moving forward with the project.

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“They will tell us at a minimum what we have to do,” he said.

South Main Street resident Ed Hammond told the council he was upset to see the stormwater repair on Monday’s agenda because he hadn’t been notified of it. A 2019 memorandum of understanding between Hammond and the town states that he’ll be informed of any stormwater projects that will impact his land on South Main Street.

Hammond said that the project on Washington Street, while listed as a repair, would actually increase the flow of water toward his property dramatically. He said he didn’t want to stop stormwater improvements in town but wanted to see Berlin take a more comprehensive approach to the issue.

“The Band-Aid process you’re doing, what it’s doing is shunting water off onto my land,” he said.

He said the entire Bottle Branch system should be reviewed.

“Define problems, get people who are affected at the table and try to come up with what is the best solution instead of doing mandates,” he said.

Mayor Zack Tyndall said town officials had intended to talk to Hammond about the project after funding for it was approved.

“That’s not a conversation, that’s a notice,” Hammond said.

Tyndall told the council the repair and modeling would cost close to $110,000.

“The stormwater fund is not in a position to handle large capital items like this,” he said.

He suggested using some of the town’s American Rescue Plan Act funds for the project. The council voted 5-0 to move forward with the repair and replacement of the pipe as well as downstream modeling for a price not to exceed $110,000.

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.