Public Works Department

Stormwater Issues in RI & Middletown

Stormwater management is an essential undertaking for the safety and wellbeing of a municipality and its residents. With mounting evidence about the effects of climate change on precipitation patterns and the impact it will have on low-lying states, like Rhode Island, the need for improved stormwater management can no longer be ignored. Water quality requirements are not being met, flood damage is becoming more frequent and expensive to repair and stormwater infrastructure is increasingly outdated and undersized. With these concerns in mind, the Stormwater Steering Committee identified stormwater issues that it felt required the most attention in Middletown: Aging Infrastructure, Drinking Water Quality, Impaired Waters (Total Maximum Daily Loads or TMDLs), Beach Closures and Flooding.


“Aging Infrastructure”:

  • Costly repairs
  • Causes flooding & safety hazards
  • Town-wide issues


“Drinking Water”:

  • Newport reservoirs are considered eutrophic to highly eutrophic
  • Public health concerns over Cyanobacteria blooms (blue green algae)
  • Increased treatment costs for water supply


“Impaired Waters (TMDLs)”:

  • Current impaired water bodies on 303d list of impaired waters: Bailey’s Brook, North Easton Pond, Maidford River and Paradise Brook
  • DEM’s Proposed additions to 2014 303d list: Gardiner Pond, Nelson Pond and South Easton Pond
  • Costly treatment efforts and stormwater management program upgrades


“Beach Closures”:

  • Impaired streams discharge to the bays and beaches
  • Recreational and commercial (shell/fishing) uses get interrupted
  • Beach closures cost the town money in tourist revenue



  • Stream flooding – Bailey Brook
  • Street flooding
    • Forest Avenue
    • Berkley Avenue – safety concern: fire trucks get diverted
  • Erosion, washouts and road closures