Congamond flooding needs federal aid, commission chair says

SOUTHWICK — The Lake Management Committee met July 22 and discussed flooding issues around Congamond Lake following the frequent heavy rainstorms in recent weeks. 

LMC Chair Richard Grannells showed a letter he sent to an aide to Congressman Richard E. Neal in which he said that recent Department of Public Works projects to remove beaver dams on Canal Brook did little to improve the flow and lower the lake’s water level. 

“The ‘backflow’ of Great Brook (the primary outlet) coupled with the restricted outflow of Canal Brook leaves literally hundreds of Congamond Lake waterfront properties and associated homes vulnerable to flood damage,” said Grannells in the letter. 

He added later in the letter that Great Brook had once been the primary outlet for Congamond Lake, but has developed clogging issues over the course of decades and now backflows into the lake during periods of heavy rainfall. 

“Climate changes have left us dealing with much larger, more frequent storms that result in more flooding and property damage,” said Grannells later in the letter. 

Grannells requested a federal response to address the waterways “on an expedited basis.”

Grannells said he sent another letter to State Senator John C. Velis and State Representative Nicholas Boldyga requesting that some of the funds from the 2018 Environmental Bond Bill be used to install weir gates at the culverts of Great Brook. 

A similar project in 2013 cost just $50,000, but the increases in construction and labor costs, and the closure of a weir gate manufacturer in Orange, Mass., caused the price to increase 400 percent.

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