Storm water run-off attributed to the heavy rains this fall has caused flooding at various locations on campus, and has prompted Facilities Management to hire an independent consultant to redesign storm water management systems in flood-prone areas. Problematic sites include the corner of McKeen and Maine streets, Park Row, College Street, and Moulton Union.

Flooding on town streets has intensified in recent years, according to Director of Facilities Operations and Maintenance Ted Stam. Stam attributes the problem to Brunswick's storm water systems, which are approaching capacity.

"These systems were designed for a certain amount [of water], and it appears that design has been fully utilized or exceeded," he said.

Mike Vellieux, associate director of major maintenance programs, said that the systems were built to handle the volume of runoff that occurred years ago. An increase in development and paved surfaces has caused more water to flow into these systems, he said.

When rain falls on buildings and pavement, it flows downhill, eventually finding its way into the nearest storm water drain. This poses a problem for older storm water systems designed for areas that used to have less development, as the systems relied upon a certain amount of water being absorbed into the ground. As more soil is paved over or built on, there are fewer places for water to go except into these drains.

To alleviate stress on the drains, Bowdoin and the town of Brunswick plan to expand the size of storm water pipes beneath Maine and McKeen streets. Because piping beneath College Street and Park Row is connected to the Maine/McKeen system, improving the piping in one area will benefit the other.

Flooding at Moulton Union also has been exacerbated by an increase in development in its vicinity. The Curtis Pool renovation has caused increased run-off into drains near the dining hall entrance, which were already receiving the majority of storm water run-off from South Campus Drive. According to Stam, the storm water system was near capacity before the added run-off from the construction site.

The most recent flood in Moulton occurred on October 12 and led to the temporary closure of the dining hall. Facilities and housekeeping responded to the flood immediately, preventing permanent damage.

"When there's a flood, the key is to respond quickly, get the water out and dry it out," said Stam.

Fear of another flood during subsequent heavy rains led facilities to take preventative action. Facilities employees were out in storms raking leaves from the drains to prevent them from becoming clogged. As a result of their efforts, no further flooding was reported in Moulton.

Raking leaves during periods of heavy rain is only a temporary solution to the problem, however. The same consultant Bowdoin is using to address the Maine/McKeen streets flooding issue is also designing a new storm water management system for Moulton Union. Facilities Management hopes to see the new system in place before winter.