Brookfield gets $1.3 million for flooding relief

By:  Alex Wolff
News Times

BROOKFIELD — Residents of Meadowbrook Manor have their fingers crossed that a decades-long flooding problem will soon dry up with the help of a $1.3 million grant to pay for a new stormwater pipe.

First Selectman Bill Tinsley said the grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency will cover about 75 percent of the cost of installing a 60-inch pipe that will drain excess runoff, a costly nuisance for the community located south of Limekiln Pond.

“That neighborhood has been experiencing flooding from severe storms for more than five decades,” said Tinsley. “The stormwater management system doesn’t have enough capacity to handle big storms.”

Jean Hartnett, who moved out of Meadowbrook Manor in recent years but remains outspoken about the flooding issue, hopes the new pipe will finally solve the problem. She said floods occur as often as three times a year, and have caused serious property damage.

“Everyone is affected differently,” Hartnett said. “For some people it literally floods right into the living and dining areas. Sometimes kids have had to walk through water that has gone through septic to get to school. Parents carried kids on their back to get to school bus. I’ve seen a car floating down the road. Cars have been totaled.”

Paul Garizio, who has lived in Meadowbrook Manor for more than 40 years, said that if the project is successful it would be a big relief for the community. His house has stayed relatively dry, he added, but neighbors have had to replace cars as well as their basements.

“I’m very hopeful that this will resolve the problem,” said Garizio. “It’s going to be a big undertaking and its going to be inconvenient for a while. Hopefully, when they get it done, we won’t have to worry about how much rain we get and how hard it rains.”

The flooding comes from large storms that produce a heavy runoff and overflow Limekiln Brook. Tinsley explained that the current 24-inch storm water system will remain place and the new pipe will help divert the extra water to a different area of the nearby wetlands.

Tinsley said engineers this week are taking soil samples, one of the last steps before the project can go out to bid. While he would like the project to be completed before winter, he said it is much more likely to begin next spring.

“It’s a big piece of work,” said Tinsley, who added that core drilling is under way to determine what type of soil lies beneath the surface. “The excavation in the roadway will be 17-feet deep and be around 1,750 linear feet.”

Tinsley said Brookfield created a hazard mitigation plan in 2014 that qualified the town for a FEMA grant, but the town was initially put on a waiting list.

In May voters approved spending up to $2 million to pay for the project and the town was prepared to move ahead, but Tinsley continued to hold out hope for a grant, which finally came through Thursday. Brookfield is now responsible for the remainder of the project’s cost.

Brookfield’s congressional delegation of Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy and Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty said the project is important for the town.

“After fifty years of persistent, severe flooding, residents of Meadowbrook Manor more than deserve this relief, and we applaud FEMA and the town of Brookfield for this wise investment,” Esty, Blumenthal and Murphy said in a statement. “We hope that this important work will bring lasting relief to Meadowbrook Manor and look forward to the completion of the project.”