May 26, 2011By Adam White Observer staff
Town officials are seeking residents’ help in identifying problem areas for stormwater in Williston.
An open meeting will be held in the Town Hall meeting room on June 1 at 6:30 p.m to collect information to help assist with Williston’s Town-wide Stormwater Master Plan. Environmental planner Jessica Andreoletti said that input from residents is crucial to evaluating problem areas and formulating solutions for protecting area rivers and other waterways.
“The only way to improve the quality of our rivers is to work as a community,” Andreoletti said. “In a situation like this, everybody is the government. It’s something that we can’t do without the town’s input.”
The meeting – part of Phase II of the Master Plan, identifying stormwater problem areas – is aimed at identifying places where runoff and seepage could potentially reach waterways. Andreoletti said that she will likely “give the first example” by describing an eroded portion of the parking lot directly to the west of the Town Hall Annex, through which dirt and sediment from the adjacent armory lot is carried into a nearby catchbasin that empties directly into the Allen Brook.
Andreoletti said that subsequent input from townspeople about other problem areas will help “fill in the blanks” for town officials who simply don’t have the time or manpower to personally explore every inch of Williston.
“Input from people in town will be a big help to us, because we have enough problems focusing on town-owned infrastructure and caring for its problems,” Andreoletti said. “We need to manage our stormwater, too.”
Stormwater issues were also the focus when a team from the Federal Emergency Management Agency visited Williston late last week. Public works engineering technician Lisa Sheltra said that FEMA officials were in the area on Thursday and Friday to conduct a preliminary damage assessment of private homes impacted by recent flooding.
“They had a list of people who had concerns relating to flooding, and they went to those areas to ask questions about the damage,” Sheltra said.
Ray Doherty, state hazard mitigation officer for Vermont Emergency Management, said that the assessment was part of a statewide effort to “determine if Vermont would be eligible for FEMA Individual Assistance grants for private homeowners.”
Sheltra said that FEMA had previously conducted an investigation into municipal flood damage, and that the organization is “still investigating” both facets of the issue.