Norwalk DPW plans to address flooding

Norwalk Department of Public Works
The intersection of Oak Street and Bouton Street is on the list for the Norwalk Department of Public Works.


NORWALK, Conn. – Efforts to improve water drainage are planned to dot the city next summer under a proposal now being studied by Norwalk’s governmental bodies.

Although there are no watercourse maintenance projects recommended for approval as part of the 2015-16 capital budget, the Department of Public Works has $867,155 left over from the recently completed Buckingham-Lockwood drainage improvement project. The Board of Estimate and Taxation is scheduled to consider closing that account and issuing a special appropriation of $867,155 to DPW for other watercourse projects.

This will be added to $87,001 in the DPW’s available balance for watercourse projects to provide $954,157 for new work. The Council Finance Committee is scheduled to consider this Thursday.

“Potential locations include Metro North culverts; Oak Street at Soundview Avenue and Cliff Street; Friendly Pond wetland restoration; Oak Hills area storm drainage improvements including North Taylor Avenue and Oak Hills to Gillies Lane; Lloyd Road-New Canaan Avenue storm drainage improvements; the Lawrence Street storm drainage improvements including the pump station; Fodor Farm area storm drainage improvements; locations along Betts Pond Brook; Grumman Avenue at Newtown Avenue; Stony Brook along with other point discharge locations as recommended in the 2013 Norwalk Drainage Study,” Department of Public Works Director Hal Alvord wrote to Director of Management and Budgets Bob Barron in a memo that is printed in the agendas for both meetings.

Council members expressed concern about flooding at last week’s Public Works Committee meeting. Alvord told them about the special appropriation, and said he would not be able to address flooding on Saddle Road because it would cost $1.35 million.

Alvord had requested $350,000 in the 2015-16 capital budget and $1 million in the 2016-17 capital budget to address the Saddle Road problem, in what he called the “Honeysuckle Daphne diversion.”

The special appropriation would allow DPW “to do some of the other projects that we are still doing the final designs on and haven’t come up with the final estimates on but are not going to be $1 million projects,” Alvord said.

The work will include removing sediment, trees and other materials from the watercourses, as well as “installation of various storm drainage best management practices,” Alvord said in his memo.

Oak Street is routinely being flooded by storm water coming downhill from Cliff Street and Soundview Avenue, Alvord said. New catch basins would connect to the existing storm drainage system on Glasser Street, he said.

DPW would put a trash rack at the head wall at the end of the open channel that runs parallel to Carlin Street to keep large debris from entering and clogging everything up, Alvord wrote.

One of the problems is the sand DPW used to spread on roads to keep them safe during the type of weather Norwalk is currently suffering through, he said. That practice was stopped in 2006-2007, and DPW has been working diligently to clean up the mess – with its next stop at Friendly Pond.

DPW would like to “restore the wetland/pond area by removing the sand and sediment that has washed into the wetland area from the storm drainage system at several key locations, the pipe outfalls and the pipe inlet that carries the high-overflow water away from the wetland/pond area and downstream. This excess sand and sediment, never intended by nature to be there to begin with, has greatly impacted and reduced the functionality and quality of the wetland,” Alvord wrote.

This would restore the pond’s natural abilities and give it more room to store water, thereby alleviating flooding both downstream and upstream, which includes Saddle Road, he said. Native wetland grasses and other species would be planted.

Oak Hills Park is also eyed for work, as a proper channel is reestablished near Oak Hills pond #2 and 135 North Taylor Ave., Alvord wrote. This would be part of a project to relieve flooding on Nash Place, Ivy Place, Cedar Crest Place, Marlin Drive, Southwind Drive, Dixie Lane, Cutrone Road, North Taylor Avenue, Gillies Lane, Shirley Street and Byrd Road.

A combination of closed pipes and open channels on Mystic Lane, Lloyd Road, New Canaan Court and New Canaan Avenue are responsible for flooding in the Lloyd Road-New Canaan Avenue area, Alvord said. Removing sediment, restablishing connections and putting a trash rack in the right location will alleviate that, he said.

A pump station on Lawrence Street and the installation of a new force main and gravity pipe in Lowndes Avenue would redirect the flows away from the existing Woodward Avenue drainage system, Alvord wrote.

It won’t help with flooding on Woodward Avenue south of Lowndes Avenue but pipes that would be large enough to do that are too expensive,  Alvord wrote. “The resulting project would leave the existing pipes in this area on Woodward Avenue that would still technically be under capacity as they exist today, but the elimination of the flows that will be redirected down Lowndes Avenue should substantially mitigate flooding in this area,” he said.

Storm water gathers in the southeast corner of Fodor Farm and flows over wall to cause flooding at 7 Pogany St. It would be directed to a new storm drainage system on Aviation Court, and a new system would also go onto Pogany Street, he said.

Alvord said his department is doing what it can without the projects.

“Anytime we have forecast of heavy rain we have guys go out and check catch basins to make sure they’re not plugged up,” he said.


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