Conservation group surveys flooding on Belfield Drive to come up with longterm solution

By: Amanda Pitts


JOHNSTON, R.I. (WLNE) – Belfield Drive in Johnston has flooded yet again, but relief efforts are underway.

The federal government, who has taken over remediation efforts from the town, brought in the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service for surveying.

“We are not here to pump, or to rescue anyone from their homes. It’s more of a long term solution.”

Gina DeMarco, District Manager of the Northern Rhode Island Conservation District, said funds were requested from the government, so the group had to come out to the road to create a report in order to justify the costs.

They spent the day examining the situation up close and coming up with a course of action.

“Raising of the road, potentially removal of 1 to 2 homes… it’s a voluntary program so nobody would be forced to sell their home.”

Certain homes on Belfield Drive would be purchased by the government and torn down, so a culvert could be put in. The portion of the road that continues to flood would then be built up, hopefully, to prevent it from happening again.

“It’s a sin that these people have to live like that. It’s a disgrace really. They’ve gotta do something for them,” said Ann Courtemanche, a Belfield Drive resident.

If a homeowner refuses to sell, the group says they’ll have to shift their plans.

“It will be non-destructive to other sites.”

The flooding is caused by a crushed culvert in a property nearby. The group says they aren’t allowed to access it, so they’re coming up with their own plan, and will bring in engineers to help.

The group says it could be a long time until the problem is fixed.

“It will not be next month, I know that. We hope in a year or so, but I really cannot be held to that.”

(c) WLNE-TV 2019