Sep 162015
Winn Brook backyard flooding / MyRWA

Winn Brook backyard flooding / MyRWA

By Fred and Anne Paulsen

We have lived for a long time with a cracked concrete driveway complete with weeds growing through the cracks. To the rear of our house, the driveway widens to include a large impervious parking area.

As part of the Stormwater Working Group’s (SWG) efforts to reduce the pollution of runoff from streets and parking lots, all townspeople are urged to allow much of their rainwater and snow melt to infiltrate into the ground. Frank Frazier, a SWG member, wrote a handout for the Belmont Building Department with instructions for porous repaving and relevant web sites. That handout is available on the town web site.

When we showed interest in reducing stormwater runoff, Radha Iyengar, a SWG member and representative of the Belmont Citizens Forum, visited our property, made suggestions, and referred us to the Somerville Action Committee. They had lots of useful information.

We went to the True Value by Ideal Hardware store in Waltham. They had a large number of sample pavers, gave us cost figures, and recommended contractors. We chose the type, color, and size of pavers.

Using that information, and with the assistance of Nancy Leask from Ray Dunetz Landscape Architecture Inc. and John Capello from Ieraci Landscaping Inc. and a lot of discussion, measuring, and rethinking, we settled on a final plan.

One option was to construct two concrete strips with grass between, but our final solution was to use pavers from the sidewalk to the far end of the porte-cochere. The drive then continues with fully porous turf pavers to the front of the barn where a grate will be installed with drains to keep the water on site but away from the edge of the barn.

There is a somewhat steep ascent at the beginning of the driveway. We have been advised that porous pavers will not be effective here so the contractor will pitch the driveway to allow the rain and snow to drain onto the grass and prevent any stormwater from draining onto School Street.

While we have been warned that turf pavers may be difficult to maintain, we think that they will be manageable because we generally park under the carport and use the barn mostly in bad weather. The combination turf pavers and new lawn expand considerably the grass area in the backyard. We will also have the walkways in the backyard extended and a new clothes reel installed so we can continue to air dry our laundry.

At the conclusion of a SWG meeting, Ara Yogurtian, Belmont’s assistant town engineer and speaker for that evening, gave us some informal advice about the drainage near the barn and we appreciate his observations.

We look forward to the construction that will commence on September 25 and appreciate the help and support from the SWG, the Citizens Forum, and Sustainable Belmont.

Fred and Anne Paulsen are long time Belmont residents. Anne served as Belmont’s state representative for many years.


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