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Tuscano Avenue resident seeks answers to flooding and illegal dumping

By Tara Vocino

A morning meeting on Wednesday with state and city officials led to a short- and long-term solution for flooding correlating with illegal dumping on Tuscano Avenue.

“I’ve been working on this for 28 years, but it’s falling on deaf ears,” said Rocco Falzone, who lives at 55 Tuscano Ave.; he said the locale gets hit the hardest when it rains – “Flooding affects 30 houses on my street.”

Illegal dumping in a nearby brook is related to the flooding, according to Falzone.

The long-term solution that they came up with Wednesday is to gather engineers to redesign the floodgates along Route 1 and install culverts along Asti Avenue, Falzone continued; preventative maintenance is the short-term solution.

“After about four high-class homes were built on Caruso Court, an adjacent street, that’s when the flooding started,” Falzone said. “A foot-and-a half slab, similar to a basement, got flooded in 1996.”

As far as illegal dumping, Ward 2 Councillor Ira Novoselsky, who organized the meeting, suggested building a 10-foot fence with barbed wire and a “No dumping; No trespassing” sign. Falzone estimated that the current fence is less than 6 feet.

“It’d be difficult to dump a couch 10 feet high,” Novoselsky said. “But there has to be eyewitnesses. If you take it to court, they’re going to ask who saw the dumping. It’s state property, so the city can’t enforce it.”

However, State Rep. RoseLee Vincent said the fence cleanup would cost $6 million, just for six houses along Cecilian Avenue. “The budget is tight,” Vincent suggested. “I’ll do whatever I can, but that’s a lot of money for not a lot of residents. We can’t fix torrential rain, but what can the state and city do to alleviate the problems?”

Massachusetts Department of Transportation District 4 Commissioner Mark Kratman forewarned them that if they build said fence, they’ll have to cut down trees, which would result in more noise from Route 1. “You moved to a house next to the highway,” Kratman said. “That would be like complaining about the planes overhead living in East Boston.”

Falzone replied that he’s lived in this house since the ’70s and has no plan on moving away.

City Water, Sewer, and Drain Supt. Don Ciaramella, who grew up in the city, said it gets worse every year. He said it all starts with a clump of grass that wasn’t maintained 60 years ago, traveling through to a brook today. “It cost about $2 million to clean a ditch,” said Ciaramella, who added that during high tide the infrastructure can’t handle it, and “Lack of street sweeping over the years has made the problem worse.”

Ciaramella went on to say that due to development of schools and parks, what’s underground has been neglected because of an “out-of-sight, out-of-mind” behavior. He said that because people can’t see the pipes, they don’t know that there’s nowhere for the water to travel, leading to heavy flooding.

However, City Assistant Water, Sewer, and Drain Supt. Joe Maglione has said that the situation has improved in the last 30 years that he’s been on the job. “The brook needs to be cleaned of sand and sediments, but not so much that animals inside it are dying off,” Maglione said.

Falzone, who is a Vietnam veteran, is concerned that he has renal failure and that if he gets sick, he won’t be able to remedy the situation. He added that half of his neighbors have died of cancer, likely due to the flooding.

The city suggested that the heavy flooding is because he lives by the ocean. However, Falzone said Revere Beach is at least 10 miles away. He is also upset with having to pay $625 yearly in flood insurance with the rate increasing as time goes on, resulting from a change in flood maps.

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