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Salem officials agree on solution to stormwater runoff problem


SALEM — School officials hope a fairly simple solution will help solve the problem of increased storm water flowing into a neighbor’s yard next to the North Salem Elementary School.

Earlier this week, the School Board unanimously approved modifying the outlet structure to reduce the storm water flow from the underground water storage system under the parking lot at the school.
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The storm water 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,” Superintendent Michael Delahanty told the board at a meeting earlier this year. “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.”
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At this week’s meeting, Brian Vincent of Nobis Engineering presented several potential solutions to the problem.

After surveying the problem, Vincent said it was also unclear why there has been an increased storm water flow into the abutting property.
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He said the storm water system under the parking lot was built as designed and that there were no issues with the grading.

As for solutions, Vincent said there is an 8-inch opening on the main discharge pipe from the system. He said reducing the size of the opening could slow water flow during most storms.
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Vincent said the potential fix would be fairly simply and could be done in about a day.

A second solution would involve building a diversion swale to the east of the parking lot. That option would be more costly and time-consuming and could require state and local wetlands approvals and the clearing of some trees.
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Board member Peter Morgan said it makes more sense to move ahead with the simpler solution and seeing it works.

“If we try that and it works, we’re done with it,” he said. “If we try that and it’s not working, we can go onto a more aggressive solution to the problem.”
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Board member Bernard Campbell suggested that if changing the discharge pipe doesn’t work, the district and the engineer might be able to work with the abutter to work out another option on the abutter’s property.
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aswift@newstote.com
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