Citizens Battle Leaf-Clogged Drains to Prevent Basement Flooding

Torrential rains from a thunderstorm drove fallen leaves to drains which clogged and resulted in pooled roadsides in several spots Tuesday.


Wild rain and wind-stripped leaves sent neighbors with shovels and rakes to street sides in several Swampscott spots Tuesday night.

They cleared leaves from roads and curbs and storm drains to relieve roadside pooling and prevent cellars from flooding and automobile accidents, they said.

Aaron Reames spent at least three hours raking and shoveling at Paradise Road by Franklin Avenue.

It was his second day in a row on drain duty.

Monday night about 9:30 he was doing the same thing under a utility pole in front of his house when the transformer above blew. The explosion and sparks scared the wits out of him, he said.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, water streamed from three directions into the low spot at Franklin and Paradise by the trauma center.

Aaron said he clears the road drains whenever it rains hard. So do a few of his neighbors, who are also young. 

He does it to help two elderly neighbors whose homes would flood first, he said, his shovel scraping the pavement as he ran the blade under a pile of wet leaves and scooped them.

His home on Paradise Road took a major hit during the October 2011 flooding. He lost cars, a motorcycle and his office, sustaining hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages, he said.

He said it is irresponsible to have a state road regularly flood. Cars stall and hydroplane, he said.

The intersection is at a corner and some motorists travel at a good clip. He says a serious accident could take place there.

Two houses away on Franklin Avenue, Oleg Katsnelson raked leaves from a storm drain.

He has lived in his house seven years and the basement has flooded three or four times, he said.

The only time he sustained real damage was last October when he lost a motorcycle and a new car, a Camry, as well as furniture.

Also on Tuesday, a quarter mile away at Burrill Street and Paradise Road, a couple in rain slickers were doing the same thing, clearing rain-soaked leaves from drains.

The work paid dividends. As the rain slowed the pool collecting at Franklin and Paradise subsided.

But they worry about the next major storm, the next major flood, and want someone to take the lead to solve the problem.



hammergjh October 31, 2012 at 12:29 PM
I'm having issues, I've called a drain cleaning service. Sewer back up into my basement shower. At least there's no flooding. Yuck.
Liz October 31, 2012 at 05:23 PM
I clean the 4 storm drains in my neighborhood on Humphrey St all the time rain or shine. We cannot expect the DPW to be everywhere at once. We must take responsibility to some degree. None of my neighbors help even the ones who's trees clog the drains. It's more important to do the right thing. So kudo's to my fellow storm drain rakers.
David Arsenault October 31, 2012 at 09:11 PM
The Problem at the bottom of Franklin is that there are 3 surrounding hills consisting of a huge portion of swampscott which comes down to one small neighborhood that is receiving all the water. When it reaches us the only drain system is A-Backwards. Small 12" pipes leading to a 3' Pipe, back to a 12" pipe and then going back to a 3' Pipe. The flow gets chocked down and we flood starting after 10min of rain. Add in the people not picking up the leaves uphill and all that flows down with the downpours, to dangerouse to unclog the drains during the storm, unless you carry a bat for the oncoming cars that do not let you near them. The best solution is to use the town leaf sweeper to sweep the curbs where the leaves are before the thunderstorms. Even when there are no leaves this place is flooding. The town needs to upgrade that 12" Pipe to 3' and the State/Town have to lay a new drain line along the South bound side of 1A. http://swampscott.patch.com/articles/was-sandy-as-bad-as-irene-53db8eda


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