By MARK SARDELLA
WAKEFIELD – Commonwealth Tank will be able to install a drainage system that will help to alleviate flooding in its parking lot and on New Salem Street after rain storms. The plan involves piping the parking lot runoff under New Salem Street to a swale on the other side that will eventually take the water to the Mill River.
Dave Damico represented CommTank along with Carlton Quinn of engineering firm Allen & Major Associates. Quinn said that he had provided a report that the commission had requested. He added that he had spoken to Town Engineer Michael Collins who had no issues with the design or engineering.
ConCom Chairman Jim Luciani said that he spoken to Collins as well and was now comfortable that his concerns were being addressed. He noted that the system would likely be able to handle runoff from significant storms, but for very large storms, some flooding was inevitable.
There was some discussion related to riprap proposed prevent bank erosion where the water empties into the swale, but there was general agreement that it made sense to install the erosion controls.
Collins only comment was that he would want to see a valve in the pipe for backflow prevention. Otherwise, he said that he was OK with a project that keeps water from the parking lot from spilling onto the roadway.
The commission closed the public hearing on the project, but will issue an order of conditions for the project at their next meeting, when Conservation Agent Elaine Vreeland will be in attendance.
The ConCom will allow Heron Pond Condominiums on Salem Street to increase the amount of fertilizer that is used on lawns under an enforcement order issued in 2015.
The enforcement order stemmed from the commission’s concerns that the lawn fertilizing program at the complex has been contributing to the deterioration of Heron Pond as evidenced by a marked increase in algae blooms and lily pad growth in recent years. Common components of lawn fertilizers, phosphorus and nitrogen in particular, are known contributors to the growth of algae and invasive aquatic plants.
Under the enforcement order, the condo association has been required to adhere to a turf management plan that limits the amount of lawn fertilizer and herbicide used and to have soil samples sent out for testing every year before making any adjustment in the level of fertilizer.
Steve Mangano, senior property manager at Thayer Property Management, said that some of the condo owners felt that the lawns were not looking as good under the new program and that clover and other invasive weeds were becoming a problem. He said that they would like to deviate a bit from the limits to see if it would improve the look of the lawn areas.
Asked about the condition of the pond, Mangano said that it still has not fully recovered from last summer’s drought, when it went almost completely dry. He said that there was still a lot of wildlife in and around the pond.
Landscape architect Ryan Bianchetto told the commission that that the latest soil tests had shown that phosphorus and potassium were “within reasonable limits.” He said that he believed that the lawns could use a little additional phosphorus and potassium to improve their look. He said that the UMass Extension Service, which does the soil testing, also recommended an increase. He noted that under the turf management plan, only natural fertilizers had been used.
He also asked about applying a little herbicide to keep the clover and other weeds in check.
The ConCom gave their blessing to increase the amount of fertilized in accordance with the limits recommended by UMass Extension Service. The commission asked that they hold off on herbicide until ConCom had a chance to consult with Conservation Agent Elaine Vreeland.
Commissioners will make a site visit to 138 New Salem St. on Saturday in response to a request from Christine Gates of 240 Salem St., which abuts the former property.
Gates explained that a dilapidated garage sits on a small town-owned parcel next to her own property. She said that the town acquired the tax title property on which the old garage sits a number of years ago. Due to the proximity of the garage to her own property, Gates said, people tend to assume that she owns it and has allowed it to deteriorate. She said that she would like to either buy the parcel from the town so she can deal with the garage or have the town tear down the garage.
Since the garage property is adjacent to a wetland, the town has asked the ConCom to weigh in with a recommendation.