Letter to the Editor:  Resident Struggles with Rising Water Table

~ Submitted by Bruce Freedman

My wife and I have lived on Hemlock Lane in Bedford for almost 30 years and have never experienced water problems like this year. Since spring we have had a literal stream of water flowing down our backyard stairs, driveway, and down to the street.

We contacted the Bedford DPW and they sent a town engineer who walked around our house and determined that the groundwater was coming down from the hill behind our house. The ground was squishy up the hill behind our house, and when he lifted a rock from the top of a stonewall he could see the water flowing underground. His consensus was that the water table had changed due to the amount of rainfall last spring and there was nothing the Town of Bedford could do about it.  He suggested putting in diversion trenches to re-route the water. We contacted a couple of engineers and chose one who came to our house twice and then didn’t return our calls. By then it was late fall and we would have to contact someone else in the spring.

We never envisioned the problems that would occur this winter. The water hasn’t stopped but continues to flow down our driveway and freezes, covering the entire driveway with a coating of slippery ice. We were able to chip away enough ice around my car so that I could drive down and back up my driveway, but the rest of the ice is too thick and slippery to chip away. I am 69 and am taking my life in my hands every Monday when I bring my barrels down and back up my driveway. I sent pictures of my driveway to the DPW showing that the ice goes past my driveway and into the street, posing a hazard as cars try to avoid the ice. The DPW said they
had gotten calls from some houses in Bedford with similar issues but there was nothing they could do about it.

I am just one lone voice, but if other households experiencing similar issues report it to the Town of Bedford and the Bedford Citizen then the Town of Bedford could stop ignoring their responsibilities and do something to help these residents who elected them.

This is not a “small” change in the water tables. It is not a normal or isolated situation. It needs to be investigated and resolved.


Keep our journalism strong! Support The Citizen Journalism Fund today. Contact The Bedford Citizen: editor@thebedfordcitizen.org or 781-325-8606

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Mike Rowell
Mike Rowell
7 months ago

The “water table changing” seems questionable especially given that you have been in that same location for 30 years and given that we are coming out of one of the biggest drought periods in recent years. My common sense guess would be that something has changed upstream from you, up above. You live on a side slope. I’m not sure where exactly but has there been development that may have changed slopes and thus runoff patterns directly up above you in the past year?

David Aldorisio
David Aldorisio
7 months ago

I have to agree I bought my house on Sibley Drive in 1993. When we first moved in there was a sump pump that would turn on once or twice in the spring and the fall. Well 10 years later we were getting so much water constantly that the pump burned itself out! I ended up jack hammering my basement floor and I put several hundred pounds of stone and a deep well to hold a large sump pump. It goes off constantly throughout the year!! So much so that the little kids in the neighborhood come by and watch it pump out into the street drain. No one is able explain to me why the water table changed so drastically but I do not believe that it was a normal occurrence …

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