Malden residents, particularly in the eastern part of the City, have been experiencing increasingly frequent flooding for years now. Many of these problems are caused by two culverts: the Linden Brook culvert, stretching from near the intersection of Beach and Salem Streets across the Revere line, and the Townline Brook culvert, which crosses the Malden, Revere and Everett city borders.
A culvert is a tunnel, usually made of concrete, which carries a stream or collected stormwater underground. Typically, they were built so that communities could build on land that was previously the streambed; the Spot Pond Brook, which feeds into the Malden River, was put into a culvert so that Malden could build Coytmore Lea and much of Malden Center on top of it. The creation of the Linden Brook culvert allowed much of the Linden neighborhood to be built on top of it.
Culverts today pose two significant challenges: they were mostly built more than fifty years ago and are beginning to degrade or fill up with silt, and patterns of waterflow have changed due to climate change. When there are significant rainfall events, it is not unusual for there to be more stormwater than the culverts can handle. When this happens, water builds up beyond the lips of drainage channels and floods streets and yards.
One way to address this is to clear out sediment that has built up in the culvert, so that there is more room for the water that needs to travel through it.
The Linden Brook culvert is owned and maintained by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, and they are currently working to hire a contractor to clear out the sediment.
The ownership of the Townline Brook culvert is somewhat more complicated; the Department of Conservation and Recreation and the Department of Transportation both have an interest in the culvert and played a large role in constructing it (Mass DOT was involved because the culvert goes near and under Route 1). The Townline Brook is not a box culvert (which means it is essentially a tunnel the water travels through, closed on all sides) like the Linden Brook Culvert; it is instead a concrete-lined channel, open on top. This make it a bit simpler to clean out the silt, but the process is nonetheless going to be somewhat lengthy because of its length and the complex nature of ownership of the culvert (Mass DCR, Mass DOT, Malden, Everett, and Revere all have a stake). Malden is working with Everett, Revere, Mass DCR and Mass DOT, and our respective delegations in the State Legislature on how to make this happen, and we have set aside a portion of our ARPA funding for stormwater management to go towards this clean-out.
If you are experiencing significant flooding during and after storm events, and water from public spaces like roadways is draining onto your property, reach out to the Mayor’s office at firstname.lastname@example.org.