St. Botolph Neighborhood Association
Neighborhood Meeting Minutes
September 15, 2010, 7:00 p.m.
Susan Bailis Center
SBNA hosted a follow up meeting on Wednesday 15th September with
officials from Boston Water & Sewer in regards to the original
flooding, which occurred on July 10th. Since our meeting on July
29th, there were two more incidents of flooding on August 5th and 25th.
Given three such '100 year' events in such proximity, residents were
skeptical of the explanation that this was a freak occurrence. However,
again, evidence provided by BW&S indicates that the entire sewer
system was overwhelmed in the sudden downfall that brought up to 2"
of rain in 35 minutes on the 10th and 1" in 15 minutes on the 5th.
(The 25th is still being researched.) Why the city is suddenly
experiencing such record breaking rains in such a brief window is not
clear. It is also not confirmed that the existing system is
operating correctly and free of blockages or other defects which requires
further analysis and review by the operational department of BW&S.
BW&S reported that the MBTA has agreed for the first time that
storm drainage system could be pumped through their system. This
agreement will allow for final designs to be developed. This project
would remove the storm water from the sewer systems in the streets and
alleys abutting the SWC park and into large basins installed below grade.
The water would seep from these basins into the ground to replenish the
ground water levels to protect the pilings on which all our residents are
built. In the case of when rainfall exceeds the catch basin's
capacity, overflow would be pumped into the MBTA system not the sewer
system. While it may assist in decreasing flooding in
smaller storms, it would not prevent flooding in major storms such as
those outlined here. Funding for this project is not yet available.
After listening to the presentation and reviewing the overall data
presented, Bob Chervincky, President, Interstate Waste Water, believes
that the system is not designed to handle 100-year storms. In fact, the
system is designed to handle only 10-year storms. This means that
flooding at some point is inevitable. Bob, a waste water engineer
specialist who was hired by the SBNA to attend the meeting and advice
residents, recommends that the only way for residents to protect their
properties is to install back flow valves. BW&S also pointed out
that this is a building code violation, not to have backflow valves and
those properties not up to code risk having water shut off to their
building, though they admit that is unlikely and a last resort.
Larry Cook from New Hope Construction who has worked in a large number
of buildings in our neighborhood presented and demonstrated several models
of back flow valves. Options include smaller units attached to
individual drains such as showers, sinks and toilets. There is also
the option of a larger unit that might handle an entire bathroom or whole
house with models that can be installed either inside or outside the
building. These are relatively simple devises designed with a flap
that shuts down when water attempts to reverse direction. It does
require that the valve be inspected on a regular basis and the flap needs
to be replaced to ensure a snug fit every few years; this can be done
yourself or by a professional.
We were delighted to have City Councilor Chuck Turner, for our district
and Will Onuoha from the Mayor's office attend the meeting. Both
pledged their support and assistance in ensuring the system is working
properly and the SBNA will follow up as discussed with each.
While the SBNA will continue to pursue BW&S's operational
department to ensure the system is properly functioning, the only real
protection for homeowner is the installation of a back flow device.
With the assistance and support of Mr. Turner and the Mayor's office, the
SBNA will be setting up a meeting with the BW&S operational team to
review their action plans to analyze and address any functional issues and
will report back to residents at the next neighborhood meeting. In
the meantime, we encourage all residents to review your plumbing systems
and take action as necessary to protect your properties.
Resources - Please note information provided by SBNA does not
constitute an endorsement by SBNA and does not imply discrimination
against other similar providers. If you have a provider that you have
worked with and would like to recommend to other residents, send us their
details at firstname.lastname@example.org
More information on Boston,Water and Sewer, go to their website
For engineering support: Bob Chervincky, President, Interstate Waste
Water, Windham, NH (603) 882-4845 (fees will apply.)
For installation of back flow valves, contact your plumber, general
contractor or Larry Cook, New Hope Construction, (401)742-5498.