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Grant will help Trafalgar improve drainage

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When it rains, water rises in Jim Bays’ yard and flows into the crawl space under his Trafalgar home.

Eventually, the hard rains will do damage, and the moisture will warp and rot the first floor of his house, he said.

“If I cut a hole in the floor, I think I could go fishing,” Bays said.

Bays’ home and others in the older section of the town of Trafalgar get water covering their driveways, standing for days in their yards and flowing into crawl spaces during heavy rains. This summer, the town got a $500,000 grant that should pay to fix the problems that lead to the frequent flooding.

Residents already have had water damage to floors, ductwork for furnaces, wooden beams and concrete supports in their houses, according to homeowners’ letters to the state in support of the town’s need for the grant.

About 40 percent of Trafalgar’s homes are in the old section of town along Pearl and Park streets, Red Gold Drive and the roads that branch off of them, where it floods the most, street and utility superintendent Lee Rodgers said.

The state awarded the town a $500,000 federal stormwater improvement grant to pay for burying more than 2,200 of feet of modern pipe under Pearl Street, adding nine manholes and installing 23 drains along the roads.

Other homes also could benefit from the work. For example, Jane Fleck’s house on Renae Court isn’t in the old section of town, but the water that washes into her crawl space, erodes dirt in her yard and causes cracking in her concrete driveway will have a better route to flow once the new drain pipes are in place, Rodgers said.

Small clay pipes and open ditches serve as the stormwater drainage system in the older area of town, Rodgers said.

The approximately 75-year-old clay pipes weren’t designed to move large amounts of water quickly as the town now needs them to do, he said. The ditches also don’t quickly move water down to the creek, and they hold standing water, he said.

“We’re just trying to get it there in a more controlled manner,” he said.

The town likely will start installing pipe in early spring. About 1,700 feet of the pipes will be buried under streets, so roads will have to be dug up and then repaved, Rodgers said.

Most of the pipe will go under Pearl Street, and some will be installed under Park and Moore streets, he said.

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