Court begins drainage project; $340,000 to deflect flooding from storms.
DUDLEY - A $340,000 drainage project will bring order to Dudley District Court, which has been plagued by flooding.
A 16,000-gallon, concrete subterranean tank is being installed to hold storm water, and a retention pond is being constructed, said Kevin Flanigan, spokesman for the state Division of Capital Asset Management.
The general contractor is Ricciardi Bros. of Worcester. The 60-day project began about two weeks ago, Mr. Flanigan said.
To handle severe storms, the improvement project includes installing an 18-inch pipe, eight inches larger than the existing pipe, to take rainwater gathered from the courthouse parking lot to the off-site Route 197 catch basin, Mr. Flanigan said.
There are about 10 catch basins in the courthouse parking lot. Two new catch basins are being installed to direct water to the new tank, which will feature a controlled release into the larger pipe and into the off-site catch basin. One of the existing parking-lot catch basins will be removed, Mr. Flanigan said.
The second component of the project, which can be seen now, is removing trees to make space for the retention pond. The water will be diverted through catch basins into the retention pond at the eastern part of the courthouse parking lot, he said.
The most severe flooding at the courthouse occurred Aug. 7, 2008, when a fast-moving thunderstorm delivered torrential rainfall and flooded roads in Dudley and Webster and overwhelmed catch basins at the rear of the courthouse.
About 4 inches of water soaked the courthouse's ground floor, which holds juvenile and probation departments, prisoners, utilities and vaulted paper records, said Frank Harrington, facilities manager.
Weeks later, ServiceMaster employed industrial-strength dehumidifiers to draw the last vestiges of moisture from the flooded court while engineers looked at ways to avoid future flooding.
The 2008 downpour damaged courthouse carpets and walls, Mr. Harrington said.
"You had to cut the wallpaper at a certain height so that you could dry out the walls so you wouldn't have another problem," he said.
Since last year's storm, water has entered the building "probably twice more." In addition to mopping, maintenance people have operated a
pump and put down a master catch basin, or a basin that all of the piping flows to that exits the property, Mr. Harrington said.
"We would throw it over into like a ravine so we could lower the water in there so it could do its job," he said. "So there's a lot of things we did during that time to keep this building dry."
He said during almost every storm either he or another worker would have to be on call to hold back water damage.
A $1.8 million improvement project at the court was completed in 2007. It doubled parking spaces at the courthouse and built berms to direct runoff to catch basins.
Before the 2008 storm, water entered the building probably three times, in the lobby and storage area, Mr. Harrington said.
CUTLINE: Dudley District Court has been plagued by flooding and is undergoing a $340,000 drainage project.
PHOTOG: T&G Staff/DAN GOULD
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|Title Annotation:||LOCAL NEWS|
|Publication:||Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)|
|Date:||Nov 4, 2009|
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