standing Westerly Town Hall

WESTERLY — Residents have five days to comment on a proposal for the town to apply for up to $500,000 in federal disaster-recovery funds to repair failing drainage systems in two areas of Misquamicut.

The comment period, which will expire Monday at 3 p.m., is seen as a technicality to fulfill a requirement of the federal Community Development Block Grant Disaster Relief Program. The funds are part of the federal government’s response to Superstorm Sandy, which devastated Misquamicut when it struck in 2012.

“I doubt that anyone would challenge” the town manager applying for funds from the federal government, said Town Manager J. Mark Rooney during a meeting of the Town Council on Monday.

The town will not have to pay any of the construction costs, as there is no matching requirement for the grant, but Public Works Director Don Ouellette said town staff will perform pre-construction engineering work.

The grant would pay for repairing and improving the drainage system from Maplewood Avenue to Winnapaug Road and the westerly portion of Atlantic Avenue to First Street. A mechanical flaw is believed to be allowing ground water to seep into the system, rendering it ineffective during rainstorms and causing flooding conditions, officials have said.

The remainder of the CDBG grant would be used to address drainage problems along the length of Breach Drive, where the failing storm drainage line and catch basins will be replaced.

The project is expected to improve the water quality in Winnapaug Pond, Oullette said.

The project will have to be completed under a tight deadline. Oullette said the grant must be closed out by June 30, meaning construction should be completed by June 1.

Council President Christopher Duhamel encouraged Ouellette and Lisa Pellegrini, director of development services, to enlist the assistance of State Rep. Sam Azzinaro, D-Westerly, and State Sen. Dennis Algiere, R-Westerly, to help ensure permit applications are reviewed in a timely manner by the state Coastal Resources Management Council.

The council is expected to consider a resolution to give formal approval of seeking the grant during its Dec. 10 meeting.

dfaulkner@thewesterlysun.com