SALEM — Thomas Campbell built his house near the North Salem Elementary School in 1986 and didn’t have any problems with water in his basement until the renovations to the school several years ago, he recently told the School Board.
Campbell requested the board authorize the district to reimburse him $541 for items associated with the flooding of his basement.
The board denied the request, with members stating that it could not be proved there was a direct relationship between the water in his basement and work at the school.
Over the past several months, school officials and engineers have been trying to determine if the renovations resulted in increased flooding from the school’s parking lot onto the properties of Campbell and another abutter.
A consulting engineer for the school district determined that the new drainage under the school’s parking lot was built as it should be. He also proposed several options to help deter any additional water from the parking lot ending up in neighbor’s properties.
“Logic would say that because of this (renovation) project, we now have this problem and that this is the source of the water in the basement,” said Campbell. “If this were to go to court, I think the courts would decide in my favor given the fact that I never had this problem before and now I do. This was created because of the construction at the North Salem Elementary School.”
Campbell also suggested that a second, independent engineer take a look at the drainage from the parking lot.
“I understand where that discussion is going, but I think it opens up a very slippery slope for the school district for a whole raft of potential claimants and all kind of circumstances,” said School Board member Bernard Campbell.
Bernard Campbell also suggested that the district notify its insurance company that there could be potential legal action as a result of Thomas Campbell’s request for reimbursement and the flooding issue.
School Board member Peter Morgan stated that is has never been established that the flooding in Thomas Campbell’s basement was caused by work at the school.
“It’s been a wet year and people have water problems all the time,” said Morgan. “There could be numerous reasons why it happened.”