The Boston Water and Sewer Commission came in for a drubbing Tuesday night from members of the Fields Corner Civic Association who aired their gripes about the agency’s role in the flooding that accompanied last month’s heavy rainfall.
“At first, Boston Water and Sewer wanted to tell me it was ground water. Okay, well, ground water does not come in as fast, ground water does not come through a hole in a cast iron sewer line,” said Alan Issokson from H. Levenbaum Companies Real Estate and Insurance on Dorchester Ave, whose building was flooded by about five feet of water.
Association president Hiep Chu said that he contacted Boston Water and Sewer Commission officials and invited them to attend the meeting. He said he was told that commission representatives would attend either the Tuesday night meeting, or the next meeting, scheduled for May 25. Commission representatives did not put in an appearance Tuesday night.
Issokson blamed an aged and inadequate storm drain and water system as well as the lack of green space along Dorchester Ave. for the flooding that occurred on March 15 and a week later. Instead of maintaining a more effective water routing system, Issokson said, the Sewer Commission allowed excess flow to back up into homes.
“Essentially what [Boston Water and Sewer] is saying is, ‘You know what? It’s cheaper for us to let it back into your basement, and your basement, and your basement, than for us to do the work necessary or pay the fine to the EPA to let it flow into Boston Harbor, and that’s just not right,” Issokson said.
Fields Corner residents along with former association president Tom Gannon, who also saw irregular flooding in his basement, called for the association to send a letter to the commission once again requesting they attend a meeting and that the association be given access to internal data that Gannon said could show water levels for the days in question.
Prior to the flood water discussion, Chu announced that he and the other members of the executive board would take another look at a proposal to allow businesses in the area to vote as members of the civic association. Members voted last month to consider the organization a “residents-based” association, barring business leaders from formally voting but welcoming their input in meetings. Chu said that there had been some contention over the decision and that the executive board will report back to members in the next few months after considering objections to the vote.
Separately, Ira Schlosser, Director of Planning and Community Affairs at Dorchester House, updated the group on the organization’s plans to expand its building and increase its services. Preliminary plans call for a second story to be built onto a portion of the existing structure and a new one-story addition to be built on land currently occupied by the Center’s parking lot. He hopes to make final plans available for the association’s June meeting.