They get nervous when they hear rain forecasted. They hold their breath when thunderstorms erupt.
When they are away from home Dave and Julia Arsenault have one eye on the Swampscott weather and cannot fully relax.
For nine years the Arsenaults have lived at 29 Swampscott Ave., located off Paradise Road, just down the street from the
Their home and those of others in the neighborhood have been flooded numerous times, they said. All together about nine Swampscott Avenue neighborhood homes have experienced flooding problems, they said.
The Arsenaults have been flooded five times in their nine years at the residence, two of them seriously, their losses totaling around $80,000.
In 2011 they received five feet of water in the lower level of their split-level home and lost two vehicles. Their insurance carrier dropped their flood coverage due to numerous claims.
The post-flood clean-ups are extensive, as is the aggravation and stress, they said.
"Our life is being ruined," said Julia.
Their property consists of two nicely landscaped lots extending from Swampscott Avenue on one side to Paradise Road on the other.
Dave thinks if the southbound side of Paradise Road, 1A, was dug up and a 3-foot or larger drainage pipe was placed in the ground leading to the huge box culvert leading to the ocean the problem would be solved.
They have written state and local officials alerting them to the problem and seeking help.
"The storm drains on Route 1A and in the surrounding areas often overflow and dirty water, sometimes mixed with sewerage (!), repeatedly floods the neighborhood consisting of approximately 8-10 houses," Julia wrote Sen. Tom McGee at the beginning of June.
Julia has also written Town Administrator Thomas Younger, letting him know about the problem and asking for help.
That request includes completion of a Lower Paradise Road drainage study, emergency infrastructure repairs in next year's budget, talks with the state to seek state funding for drainage work, and better maintenance of the drainage system.
The town administrator said in a recent interview that Swampscott faces a number of townwide issues.
"And they need to be prioritized," he said.
In addition, the town needs to make sure that work to infrastructure in one part of town doesn't have negative consequences for another part of town.
He said the town needs a long-range and comprehensive plan for drainage system maintenance and repairs.
Right now, said the town administrator and DPW Director Gino Cresta, the immediate plan is to get the overgrown detention pond at the Tedesco Golf Course dredged.
That work should take place late in the fall, after a dredging study by Camp, Dresser and McKee.
The dredging is expected to cost all of the $350,000 appropriated for the work at Town Meeting in May, and Tedesco will contribute $100,000, over 10 ten years, to the dredging operation.
The dredging is expected to provide flooding protection for Vinnin businesses and nearby residents including those who belong to the Hawthorne Brook Neighborhood Association.
As far as the Swampscott Avenue flooding issue goes, the DPW director said he has heard about recurring problems from the Arsenaults and maybe a neighbor, but not others in the neighborhood.
Water sheds from multiple directions to the Arsenaults property, a low area, he said. And the storm in October 2011 was a pefect storm, combining enormous rainfall in a short period of time when the tide was astronomically high.
To correct the recurring flooding the Arsenaults have experienced would require a study and action by the town. The drainage infrastructure improvements would be the town's responsibility, he said, not the state's.
Town Meeting appropriated $40,000 for a Lower Paradise Road study but it is unclear when it will take place and if it will provide answers to Swampscott Avenue's flooding problems.
Patch will follow up on this question.