Maintenance of Drainage Systems on Conservation Commission Agenda for October 25

We are glad to see that maintenance of Northampton’s drainage systems is on the agenda of the next Conservation Commission meeting. Failing systems were an issue during the recent debates over wetlands regulation.

Northampton Conservation Commission

Date: Thursday October 25, 2007
Time: 5:30 PM
Place: City Hall Hearing Room (use back door or main Crafts Avenue door) 2nd floor, 210 Main Street, Northampton

For more information: Bruce W. Young, Land Use and Conservation Planner

5:30 PM
Continuation of a Notice of Intent filed by the City of Northampton Department of Public Works for cleaning, maintaining and repairing culverts, pipes, headwalls, endwalls, catchbasins, drain and sewer structures and easements, roadwork and other generic maintenance. Work will take place in all inland resource areas. Project location is throughout the City of Northampton…

See also:

Maintaining Stormwater Management Systems
“The number-one problem we saw in stormwater quality was that no one was maintaining anything,” Moll [John Moll, chief executive officer of Lawrenceville, GA–based CrystalStream Technologies] notes. “We’d ask people, ‘How do you clean these things?’ And they had nothing. Now, it’s gotten better. But there is still a lot of work to be done.”

…[Some] owners assume they will stay in compliance simply by cleaning the BMPs—or scheduling a cleaning—every year or every six months. Problem is, some BMPs don’t need that much cleaning, depending on the type of stormwater device and its location, Jacobson says, while others may need cleaning much more frequently.

As an example, Jacobson points to filters placed alongside a city greenbelt. City workers mow the greenbelt frequently and are out trimming trees often, too. That BMP is going to require frequent cleanings to handle all the trimmings and grass clippings, with the city perhaps needing to clean it every month…

Alex Ghiselin, Letter to Gazette: “Don’t let development encroach on our wetlands”
The failure of the storm water system built as a part of the Northampton High School renovation six years ago illustrates why protecting wetlands is so important. Silt has filled the retention pond so there is no capacity to slow a storm surge which now flows unimpeded into the Mill River and contributes to flooding downstream. This accumulated silt also raised the water table and spills ground water into nearby basements…

Without maintenance, these [storm water mitigation] systems are part of the problem, not the solution…

Mike Kirby: Compensatory Wetland on Carlon Drive Not Working
This was supposed to be a compensatory wetland, full of cattails and wildflowers. A rock check dam was supposed to hold back the “first flush” off the parking lots and trap pollutants, and outflow from it was supposed to feed the wet part of the detention pond. Here rain water pouring off the new parking areas and street was supposed to be stored, and discharged safely.

That was the plan. Today if you stand by the pond and look down into it, you’ll see the check dam is now about two feet underwater. You can’t even see where they planted the marshgrass and flowers. The area is under water. Even in a fairly dry summer, the detention pond is only about a foot and a half from the top of the bank. There’s no storage to speak of, no discharge, no filtering. As it is constructed now, grey water from the parking lots and the access street goes directly into the swamp and the Connecticut River.