m-topselectmen-122608 Selectmen hear Bay Park water drainage complaints

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TOPSHAM — Bay Park is the site of costly water drainage problems, several residents told the Board of Selectmen Dec. 18.
They’re seeking attention to the problem before the spring brings even more water woes.
Andrea Hahesy, a resident of 36 Goldeneye, said “the water table seems to have risen significantly in these five years that we’ve been in Bay Park.”
Her name heads a petition of 27 Bay Park residents decrying the drainage situation.
In her first year there, Hahesy said, the sump pump stopped working, flooding her basement with five inches of water and causing damage. Even with insurance, she explained, repair costs were high and her premiums have increased.
The pump now turns on every 10 seconds, Hahesy said: “It sounds like a river’s pouring in. I mean it’s just rushing in, and pulling it out … this is not a standard sump pump situation.”
And when her home lost power for 48 hours during the previous weekend, she said, her generator could not keep up with the water flow despite her husband filling it with gas every 45 minutes.
She cannot leave her home if a storm is predicted, Hahesy said.
Other neighbors have faced headaches such as septic replacement, well drilling and excavation costs and driveway replacement, she said.
“We all purchased our homes intending to use the bottom level to some extent,” Hahesy said, but they have been stymied by the drainage problems.
A report produced in 1991 called “The Bay Park Drainage Study” mentioned that some homes “will continue to experience wet basements until the groundwater table can be lowered around the foundations by gravity or artificial means,” according to Hahesy.
The table has continued to rise, she pointed out, expressing the need for something to be done to lower the table in a timely fashion.
Bill Ouelette, who lives at 15 Loon Drive, said he lives on higher ground in Bay Park and did not own a sump pump from 1993 to 2004.
“Since then my sump pump has worked increasingly more and more,” he said. “And if my pumping now is any indication of what the spring will look like for my neighbors, it’s going to be a catastrophic spring unless something is done. Not later, but between now and the spring thaw.”
Ouelette said he believes the situation has been the result of the town failing to maintain “this vital public utility.”
“The problem has been known for a long time,” he said. “Nothing’s been done that has been effective. … The situation results not from ignorance or lack of due diligence by the homeowners of Bay Park. It results from the town of Topsham failing the taxpayers – homeowners in that development – failing to meet its responsibility to maintain a vital public works system.”
Ouelette called the drainage matter one of great impact to a large number of people and their quality of life and health.
“We hear you very clearly,” Board of Selectmen Chairwoman Michelle Derr told the several people who spoke, and said their timing was good because the board is embarking on its next budget season.
And good timing may be essential. Lou Dorogi of 9 Goldeneye Drive pointed out three options he and his neighbors have before them while the drainage issues persist.
“We have a choice of either getting these things fixed, spending loads of money,” he said, “or raising goldfish.”

Alex Lear can be reached at 373-9060 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net.
A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.