The landslide closed the channel in which the Coginchaug was flowing, causing it to rise in Veterans Park. This is endangering the trees, which when they die and fall, are likely to create further impediments to water flow.
The City may be eligible for Federal and State funds to clear the channel, but at the last Wetlands Agency meeting, Bruce Driska of the Planning Office said that the Army Corps of Engineers and the State Department of Environmental Protection were reluctant to approve funding to clear the channel if the overlying bank has not been stabilized.
Charton has dumped large concrete debris on the slope, and filled in the spaces above and around the concrete with loose soil. According to the Cease and Desist order given to Charton on June 28th, the material placed along the banks of the Coginchaug "is in violation of the City of Middletown's Inland Wetland and Watercourses Agency regulations."
Matt Dodge, Planning and Environmental Specialist in the Planning Department, said there was some concern that the concrete rubble might actually make things worse, "I'm not an engineer, but slabs could very well weigh the slope and if they are on a slippery surface they could slide down."
Charton was ordered to "Halt all regulated activity immediately and secure necessary permits to remove the obstruction from the channel and stop the upstream flooding," and to appear at tomorrow's Inland Wetlands meeting.
I met Charton working on the site on the afternoon of the 29th. He said that there was little danger of the slope sliding again. He pointed to the just-finished regrading of the top of the slope, which he said would direct storm run-off away from the bank which had collapsed. He also said that he had re-routed the roof drains to direct the water to a lower portion of the slope.
Charton said there was no danger of flooding in the area around the landslide, because the Coginchaug was spreading over a large floodplain at that point, but he agreed that the channel should be opened to prevent the high water along the banks in Veterans Park. He said that it was unfortunate that the City, State, and Federal agencies wouldn't just let him go in with equipment to clear the channel.