in city were waiting to happen
Taunton is wet. No one should
be surprised to hear that, but when flooding occurs, some always are.
city sits in a valley, protected in part by the millions of gallons of water
held back by the Hockomock
Swamp. Rivers run through
every section of Taunton.
There are numerous lakes and ponds as well. Waterways far beyond the city's
boundaries all make their way toward the Taunton River.
It may take days to get there, and along the way torrential rain creates even
a heavier buildup. Dams prevent the Mill
River from flooding downtown
on such occasions.
The city's non-buildable wetlands can be easily
detected by the black tar paper that tells developers they can precede no
further, but has no effect on stopping the water on the other side. Taunton should have strenuously
guarded its wetlands. Homes were allowed to be built where they shouldn't
have been. Instances occurred where wetlands were filled and even ponds disappeared.
Waters' natural flow to reach a river to the ocean was interrupted. When the
water found its way again, yards and homes now were in its path. This has
been a continuing story.
It was again when 4.5 inches of rain poured down on Taunton after a very wet winter and fall. The
Three Mile River
spread far over its banks in many low-lying areas. Other rivers and streams
surged, and the waters of the often-placid Cobb Brook expanded into the back
yards and threatened property damage throughout the Kilmer Avenue-Oak Street-Winthrop Street
Years ago after a similar flood, Taunton
was advised it should adopt a maintenance program for Cobb Brook in which
the stream would be cleared of accumulated debris and its culverts kept open
every spring. The recommendation was abandoned, however, perhaps because of
the cost. So many of Taunton's
problems today resulted from an unwillingness to spend until an emergency
A Conservation Commission that was criticized for being discourteous and unreasonable
has been replaced. A conservation agent was hired and then fired in the face
of similar accusations. A new one has been hired. She must not let herself
be intimidated by Taunton
The efforts to do so seemingly go with the territory. So, unfortunately, does
a lot of water.
ŠThe Taunton Gazette 2005