News Flash Home
The original item was published from 4/26/2007 12:00:00 AM to 10/30/2019 12:44:55 PM.

News Flash

Town News

Posted on: April 26, 2007

[ARCHIVED] 4/26/2007 - First Selectman Raymond Baldwin Wants Flood Control

After the Pequonnock River overflowed last weekend and flooded Trumbull Center for the third time this year,
First Selectman Ray Baldwin said he has had enough.

Baldwin said Tuesday he is looking into flood management systems to prevent future flooding in the area. Possible options are floodgates, or even a dam.

"Earlier this year, I said the flooding in the area was unprecedented in its severity, but now it's becoming almost common," he said. "Clearly, there is something going on, there, and we need to do something to give these people some relief."

Baldwin said he has had preliminary meetings with Cheshire-based Milone & MacBroom, an architectural firm that has performed flood-control work for state towns like Hamden, Meriden and Berlin.

"There used to be a reservoir just about a mile upstream from Trumbull Center," he said. "There is a huge plain, with plenty of lowland for the water to collect. They actually used to harvest ice there in the 19th century."

Milone & MacBroom representatives Nicolle Burnham and David Murphy visited Twin Brooks Park March 20, about three weeks after the March 2 flood. They also saw flood photos from 2005, when rescue personnel actually used boats to pull residents from their homes.

"The problem seems to be that the park is very low and flat," Murphy said. "The grade on the Pequonnock River's banks is also very gradual. You have a very shallow channel and a lot of water trying to get through there."

Burnham said she was familiar with the former dam, but replacing it probably was not an option.

"We probably couldn't get permits from the Army Corps of Engineers to replace the dam," she said. "Our goal would be to slow the water down and reduce the frequency of the floods."

Baldwin speculated that housing construction in the region could be affecting water flow.

"I don't recall anything on this scale since the Route 25 connector went in," he said. "When I met with [Bridgeport Mayor John] Fabrizi, he said he was having problems with the Pequonnock River flooding, too. It's got to be coming from upstream."

Burnham agreed upstream development could lead to local floods. "These projects create impermeable barriers and divert water into the river," she said.

Town officials will go before the Finance Board next month to request funds for an engineering study on the site. Baldwin estimated the study would cost about $20,000. The actual construction costs probably would come from grants, he said.

"I want to get moving on this and get it done," he said. "On a project like this, hopefully, the state and federal government would pay for most of it."

The latest chapter

Over the weekend, the area once again experienced flooding. In some areas, nearly five feet of water backed up and ran over local streets.

"They were running ragged all day Sunday, starting at about 3 a.m." said Long Hill Fire Lt. Don Pellegrino. "There were people who never had water in their basements before who woke up, went downstairs and said 'Holy Cow!'"

Chief Peter Rousso said crews responded to more than 60 calls of flooding.

"We had seven trucks on the road, and that was just one department out of three in town," he said.

At one point the volume of calls was so heavy that dispatchers stopped sending activating alarms. Instead, they took residents' names and addresses and placed them on a list for the next available crew.
If that wasn't enough, the volunteers still had the responsibility of protecting the town from fires.

"At one point, we're pumping four feet of water from a basement, and we got an emergency call of smoke in a house," Rousso said. "It was like, 'Okay, disconnect everything and let's go.'"

Scenarios like that are what Baldwin hopes to prevent in the future, he said.

"We have to get a system in place to hold the water back, and slowly release it into Twin Brooks," he said. "It's the only way to keep these people from getting flooded every couple of months."

Facebook Twitter Email