News Feature

Web exclusive, October 24, 2013
Stonington selectmen give green light to gutter installation at town hall

In an effort to deal with ongoing water runoff issues around the town office, selectmen on Monday agreed to install gutters on the building.

There has been a problem with water running under the town office building and the building next door, according to Town Manager Kathleen Billings-Pezaris.

A recently completed parking lot project behind the town office building included a considerable amount of drainage in order to divert the water running off the hill, she said. The gutters would handle the large amounts of water that come off the roof of the building during storms. In the winter months, that water freezes and ice builds up on the walkways around the building including on the handicapped-access ramp.

It may also help the building next door, she said, noting that the owners were also looking into ways to deal with the runoff from their roof.

It may be possible to funnel the water from the gutters into existing storm drains.

Installing the gutters will cost an estimated $2,600—$1,400 for materials and $1,200 for two days’ labor, she said.

The selectmen voted 5-0 to go ahead with the project.

The gutters won’t resolve all the problems around the town building, Billing-Pezaris said. The stone wall on the property has bowed out, probably from the effects of water getting in behind it and freezing, she said. Part of the problem is the water coming off the roof, she added, but the gutters won’t alleviate the problem with the wall.

“We’re going to have to redo it,” she said.

The town is also looking at ways to ease congestion at the town’s transfer station that has resulted in people being turned away on occasion.

Part of the problem stems from the increased use of frozen bait by the town’s fishermen.

The bait comes in cardboard boxes wrapped in plastic which is difficult and time-consuming to separate, so most of it goes into the compactor. The cardboard takes up a lot of space and doesn’t compact well, Billings-Pezaris said. Occasionally, it will bind up the compactor and it takes a while to free it, causing delays at the station.

Billings-Pezaris said she planned to meet with the transfer station supervisor Tom Brophy to discuss the issue and see if they can find a solution.

“We need to figure out when it’s coming in so we can change out the box before Friday,” she said.

Selectman Chris Betts suggested that they may have to ship some light loads to the PERC plant until they can coordinate the flow a little better. That’s not an appealing prospect since transportation costs to the plant in Orrington are high.

The influx of the bait boxes has not been all bad, Billings-Pezaris said. Despite some of the problems, it has helped to keep the town’s tonnage levels high enough to meet its agreed upon and contractual quota at PERC. That’s important since there is a financial penalty for dropping below the quota.

The town is also looking into a recurring problem with a sewer line on Pink Street. The line from Boyce’s Motel has backed up more than once and they are trying to determine what the problem is.

Billings-Pezaris said the line is a single line that runs to a communal septic tank.

“It appears that there is some sort of blockage in the line,” she said.

A crew is scheduled to dig up the line on Thursday, October 24, to determine what is causing the backup.

Selectman Richard Larrabee Sr. said he had been accosted by several people recently who wanted to know why the town had tarred the parking area by the Farmers Market.

Billings-Pezaris said there was extra tar left over from the paving job on Childs Road. The town had already paid for the tar, she said, and there is a limit to how far they can move the equipment to get rid of any leftover. The parking area near the ball field was the closest spot.

Chairman George Stevens said the tarring was not done for the market and suggested that the town might consider finishing the job and paving the entire area there. If they filled in some areas and paved over it right up to the tennis courts, it might alleviate some problems with standing water there.

Billings-Pezaris said there were still a few paving jobs left to do in town and that she would see if that area could be done.

The board next meets on Monday, October 28, 7 p.m. at the town hall.