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Flooding concerns for neighbors near Salem school

SALEM — Engineers will try to determine if the stormwater drainage system at North Salem Elementary School has been causing flooding issues for several neighboring residents.

The issue has been most prominent during the thaw and snow melt periods of the spring since the school was renovated in 2011.

“There have been some concerns expressed by abutters about some increased wet areas near the North Salem School parking lot and driveway as a consequence of the work there a couple of years ago,” said Superintendent Michael Delahanty. “Recently, the concerns were raised to the point where we were compelled to talk to Nobis Engineering about the issue at the parking lot to see if there is a way to define and identify if the problem was a direct result of the drainage at the parking area.”

If the drainage is causing the issues to the north of the school, Vincent said there could be several reasons and possible ways to address those issues.Vincent proposed several measures engineers could take to help identify the cause.Those measures include looking at the outlet control structure that governs the flow of the water from the drainage area under the parking lot. Vincent said it is possible that structure could be damaged or is not working properly.“If it happens to be damaged or not built the way it should have been built, that can be fixed fairly simply,” said Vincent.Another possible issue could be in the way the parking lot area was graded during construction. If that is the case, Vincent said the issue could be addressed by modifying some of the unpaved areas next to the pavement to improve water flow or a small catch basin could be installed that would capture water and send it away from the area that has had flooding issues.The most intensive option would be to extend a diversion swale at the discharge of the parking lot's stormwater retention system that would discharge water in a different area.

School Board member Michael Carney asked Delahanty if the water issue north of the school is new this year or if it has been ongoing. Delahanty said this year this was a complaint about water in one of the abutter's basements that was new, but for the past three winters, there have been issues raised about increased water in another abutter's back yard.

“I'll work with Mr. Vincent and expect there will be a site survey that we will have done to give us some elevation and some idea whether that water could be flowing improperly,” said Delahanty. “We will also do some work with the drainage system to see if that is working properly. Once we have that information, Mr. Vincent can come back and offer some recommendations for a solution.”

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