The city is taking steps to combat flooding along Copper Mine Brook.
The Cheshire-based Milone & MacBroom engineering consulting firm is likely getting more than $200,000 to study the brook’s watershed, outline possible solutions to its flooding problems and figure out how to realign the stream near Frederick Street.
The intent, said Mayor Art Ward, is “to identify areas that need correction to address flooding concerns” along the length of the brook, which flows from Burlington to the Pequabuck River near Theis Precision Steel.
Large sections of the creek and its tributaries overflow during heavy rains, inundating basements, washing over streets and causing significant damage.
The study is only a small step toward what is likely to prove a multi-million project that will take place over the course of years, perhaps with federal government aid.
“I wish it could all be done yesterday,” Ward said, but it will take time.
He said the city wiill seek all the aid wherever it can get it to try to ease the impact on property taxpayers.
According to a recent memorandum from Public Works Director Walter Veselka to the mayor, the study “will model existing conditions, predict future conditions and outline possible solutions to Bristol’s flooding problems” along the brook. That will cost about $66,000.
The firm also needs to do another $66,000 worth of field work and mapping to supplement the basic study.
The consultant also needs $81,000 to analyze how best to realign the S-curve in the brook just north of the Frederick Street Bridge, where flooding occurs frequently.
City officials, who have become increasingly attentive to the flooding problem during the last couple of years, have said the main problem is that open space is vanishing, creating fewer places to sop up the water and speeding its flow downstream into creeks that never had to handle so much flow in decades past.
The last major flooding occurred in April 2007, but there were at least three other serious flooding episodes in the two years before that.
Ward has asked U.S. Rep. John Larson, the East Hartford Democrat whose 1st District includes Bristol, to try to secure federal money and help for Bristol’s flooding problems. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has already indicated it may be able to help, but not in the short run.
The City Council has been meeting regularly in its role as the city’s Flood and Erosion Control Committee to keep the issue on the front burner.
Officials said the studies by Milone & MacBroom are needed to gather the background facts needed to begin figuring out what could be done to help stop future storms from causing so much disruption and loss.
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