Case Study: Multi-hazard mitigation

Location: Alouette Beach Resort - Old Orchard Beach

Problem: Owner, Fred Kennedy, wanted to upgrade his 1950s era beach resort. In order to meet current standards for constructing in a frontal sand dune, the cottages needed to be elevated on piers. Unfortunately, elevating each individual unit was not economical.

three-story structure with windows with marsh grass in foregroundSolution: Fred and his subcontractor, Sebago Technics, Inc., worked with Maine’s Department of Environmental Protection to interpret state regulations, and were then permitted to combine the cottage footprints into one large building to make elevating it more economical. Maine Geological Survey provided data collected by volunteers with the Southern Maine Volunteer Beach Profile Monitoring Program that showed the beach was growing, rather than eroding. The sand dune in front of the old cottages was restored and its elevation raised by two feet, protecting the new building from storm surges as well as sea-level rise. The building itself is now set on piers, which allow water to flow underneath the building if a storm surge should breach the sand dune.

Multiple paths through the sand dune were reduced to a single path, making it more difficult for water to penetrate the dune during storm surges. Finally, the concrete slabs around the old cottages were replaced by soil and native vegetation, which will help to soak up water during rain storms. The building was also engineered so that stormwater is collected and channeled through the center of the building, underground and out towards the ocean. This limits the amount of water that reaches the surrounding area and prevents erosion during heavy rain storms.

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