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Sneak Peek: Brookline storm water problem-solving

When it rains at our Mid-century Modern House, it pours

A big challenge early on at the TOH Mid-century Modern project house was designing the storm water management system.

When the house was built in the 1950s, the rainwater was collected in a drain that tied directly into the town’s sewer system, but that type of tie-in is no longer allowed. The house is on a terraced lot, at the bottom of a street, so water runs down the street and onto the lot. The new driveway has a downhill incline into the new garage, creating even more of a storm water challenge.

The solution, according to TOH landscape contractor Roger Cook and TOH landscape designer Jenn Nawada, was to install two concrete tanks under the new driveway area to filter and disperse the storm water in keeping with the requirements set by the Town of Brookline.

All rainwater from roof drains, area drains, and the driveway first goes into a sediment tank, which contains a sump pump to filter coarse sediment and debris; filtered water then flows into a second tank, a mini-drywell, which collects the sump overflow and disperses it into the ground.

If the mini-drywell reaches capacity, it has an overflow tied into a storm drain; the Town of Brookline requires that any water going into the storm drain is already clean and filtered. As his crew worked on the installation of the two tanks with their multiple inlet and outlet pipes, Roger noted with typical Yankee understatement: “Storm water management wasn’t a big issue back in the 1950s, but it sure is today.”