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 Underground Pipe May Solve Flooding in Pleasant Acres Subdivision

Vic Bradshaw
Frederick News Post

The symptom, clearly, was above ground. But it appears that the problem and solution to yard flooding in part of the Pleasant Acres subdivision lies below.

At a Monday night meeting, Daniel Lavelle told a small group of subdivision residents and Thurmont's board of commissioners that rainwater won't seep into the earth in some yards because the ground already is soaked. The president of Lavelle & Associates Inc., a local engineering, planning and surveying firm, said he made that assessment without having to do an as-built topographical map of Pleasant Acres.

Instead, Mr. Lavelle said he visited the subdivision after a recent storm and found yards in one part of the development to be dry. However, downhill from those lots he found six yards that remained extremely wet.

After talking with a homeowner who said his sump pump ran constantly for days after rains, Mr. Lavelle concluded that the water table was so high that the ground could absorb only a bit of the water.

"It's absolutely super-saturated in this area," he said, referring to an area on a map of the subdivision that included lots owned by the residents who most actively sought resolution.

Ron Morris, a manager for Dan Ryan Homes, which is marketing and building the subdivision, said he's never seen the groundwater water table this high. He also noted that all previous conversation had focused on an aboveground problem.

The solution proposed would give water someplace else to go.

A perforated pipe, surrounded by stone and wrapped with material to keep it from clogging, will be buried 18 inches deep or more along the common boundaries of the six lots. When groundwater rises to pipe level or rainwater seeps down to the pipe, it will flow inside and be carried to the store drainpipe. That way, the affected yards will be drier and better able to absorb rains.

The project might cost $5,000, Mr. Morris said, and Dan Ryan Homes will foot the

bill. No fences around homes will have to be moved, but he said it likely will be spring before the work can be done.

The pipe shouldn't require post-installation maintenance, according to Mr. Morris. But Mayor Martin Burns said the town likely will want written agreements with homeowners stating that the town is not liable for maintaining the pipe.

Earl Robinson, one of the most vocal residents, said his concern now was getting the job done in a timely manner.

"I'm hearing a lot of good things," he said. "I want to make sure we don't lose focus or lose sight."

Mr. Burns said information about the project's progress can be passed along during regular board meetings in an effort to avoid more special meetings.

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