Rabbit Pond Drainage Design May Stop Flooding
A new drainage design may stop flooding at Rabbits Pond but funding for the project is still unknown.
A new drainage design may stop Rabbit Pond from overflowing but the pond owner, Phillips Academy, is still looking for funds to construct the new design features.
A storm overflow and redesigned drainage system are the subject of an engineering study done in response to the one-hundred-year storm that caused flooding on adjacent properties by Rabbit Pond at Phillips Academy Andover earlier this year.
The two-acre pond on the academy property overflowed as it quickly filled during the heavy rains and that overflow flooded parts of Morton Street and adjacent properties.
The engineering firm, Nitsch Engineering at Lincoln Street, Boston, said that increased outlets for the pond's overflow might solve the problem. In their proposed design , Nitsch wants to build a structure to direct overflow toward Roger's Brook. That would relieve the sudden build up of water from the one-hundred year storms.
However, the school can only afford to fund up the design stage of the project, and no plans have been made to make any changes to the pond for now.
On March 15, this year, a one-hundred-year storm hit the Andover region. That brought above average volumes of water to the region and caused the pond to flood.
A hundred-year storm is a catastrophic weather condition that occurs every 100 years. It is a storm that has a one percent chance of being equaled or exceeded in water volume every 100 years.
The overflow in March also flooded Morton Street, according to Larry Meunch, Phillip Academy's Associate Director of Operations.
"The pond is eight feet deep at its deepest and was originally a place where people went to ice skate in the 1800's," Meunch said about Rabbit Pond's background. The shallow pond easily overflows from any sudden increased water volume.
The pond has protected wetland areas, but the conservation commission has not yet entered the discussions of the new design. They will only need to be involved if the project changes or effects a wetlands area and the project need permits and permissions.
That process would begin with a Notice of Intent, and go through several public hearings at which the commission reviews the proposed new designs and how they would affect the area that abuts a wetland.
Andover Health Department head, Tom Carbone, said that he has not received any information about the pond's overflow condition and his department really has no reason to get involved unless there is a health problem. None has been reported.
"We would get involved, if, say, they had a beaver problem, and needed us to give them a permit to solve that kind of problem," Carbone said.
"There are other ponds and streams around town that have had problems with beavers damning them up," Carbone said. He pointed out that it is illegal to disrupt a beaver's damn, and it cannot be breached without a permit from the health department.
The academy has been working with Nitsch engineering on a way to solve the problem for the past nine months, but does not have funds immediately available to implement the design and build the project.