GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

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March 22, 2013

Councilor to tell of possible flooding fix

“The residents and businesses of Maplewood Avenue have nothing against ducks. They’d just like to see them walking instead of swimming in their yards.”

City Councilor Melissa Cox said that Thursday, after sitting in on a meeting Wednesday night of area residents who discussed flooding problems in their neighborhood.

Cox learned firsthand that the residents believe the city could remedy issues that have led to major, long-term flooding of private property in and around Myrtle Square. Though the city Department of Public Works has studied the problem extensively and characterizes the flooding as a private property drainage issue, Cox said she will bring detailed maps of a potential solution to the city administration.

Privately hired engineers have explained that a drainage pipeline runs up Maplewood Avenue from the Prospect Street intersection then turns at the Maplewood Carwash and heads out toward the railroad tracks. Engineers hired by the residents suggest that the city continue the piping from the car wash on down Maplewood Avenue, tying in the flooded areas.

The city describes the flooding as a private issue rather than a city issue because public property is not involved; the flooding occurs on private property and seems to be caused by runoff from other private property. Still, Cox plans to speak with the administration before Tuesday night’s City Council meeting and relay the answers to the frequently flooded businesses and residents.

“If there’s an overflow in the wetlands area, we still need to figure out why. I’m not at that point yet where I feel comfortable saying it’s a private-private problem,” Cox said. “We’re willing to help and we want to help if it lies within our realm of fixability. A business hurt, a homeowner hurt, hurts Gloucester.”

Public Works Director Mike Hale sees the flooded private property alongside dry city roads as a sign that city infrastructure is working as it should. The water that trickles onto public property drains off, he said; the water that pools and stands on private property has not been properly routed within that property.

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