PS Flood Barriers™ Case Study: 171 Nahatan Street/Olde Colonial Cafe

Norwood, Massachusetts

Residents of Norwood, Massachusetts, are no strangers to the beautiful old building located on 171 Nahatan Street. Playing many different roles throughout history, the community-owned building once served as a local fire hall but is now home to the Olde Colonial Cafe. Over the years, the building’s back door has often delivered something that the restaurant never included on its menu – inches of flood water caused by any heavy rainfall. An important access point for deliveries and restaurant employees, the back door leads to a basement that houses a commercial kitchen and storage area for restaurant supplies. This placement made the occurrence of annual flooding especially frustrating as it would put the restaurant’s valuable commercial appliances and supplies at risk. 

In the spring of 2014, Norwood’s Director of Public Works Mark Ryan decided to seek out a flood solution to end the problem once and for all. Taking to the internet, he began searching for a form of flood protection that – in his mind – would resemble the equivalent of a submarine door. That’s when he came across PS Flood Barriers™. 

Ryan discussed the building’s situation with the PS Flood Barriers team, and they immediately recognized that the back door’s opening would be best protected by the company’s Pedestrian Flood Door (PD-520). Not only would this solution allow restaurant employees to continue to utilize the back door as an entrance, it would also provide the always-in-place, 24-hour flood protection that the building most desperately needed. It’s among several PS Flood Barriers products that have been tested and passed the FM Approvals 2510 Standard (ANSI 2510). The installation was a success, and the Pedestrian Flood Door (PD-520) kept the Olde Colonial Cafe’s basement dry. 

In June 2020, the city of Norwood experienced an uncharacteristically torrential rainstorm that would prove to be the Pedestrian Flood Door’s (PD-520) biggest challenge to date. Six inches of heavy rainfall fell within 90 minutes, causing flood levels to reach over four feet at the base of the door. However, not a single drop made its way through. Even though flood levels surpassed the heights for which the door was initially rated, it still successfully held back the floodwaters that would have otherwise filled the basement. 

“We’re beyond grateful for how well the flood door performed during this devastating event,” says Ryan. “Not only did it save the Olde Colonial Cafe upward of $30,000 in damages, it has eliminated the anxiety that the building’s back entrance has caused over the years. Hearing the relief in the cafe owner’s voice as he explained what he witnessed from behind the door that day makes me truly grateful for discovering PS Flood Barriers. I only wish I could say that the fate was the same for more buildings around town.” 

Unfortunately for Norwood as a whole, the flash flood caused more than 350 homes and a great number of businesses to suffer significant flood damage. Even the local hospital suffered heavy damages and was forced to shut down for an extended period of time. Ryan now says that the city of Norwood plans to install an additional Pedestrian Flood Door (PD-520) at its recreation center, located adjacent to the Old Colonial Cafe. The recreation center’s lower level took on over four feet of water during the 2020 flood, resulting in the loss of one of the city’s maintenance vehicles. 

“This last flood was a learning experience for our entire community,” says Ryan. “It taught us that heavy rainfall can be much more devastating than we had ever imagined, and that having the proper flood protection in place is crucial. We are beyond grateful that PS Flood Barriers was able to protect our building at the time it was most vulnerable, and that’s only one of the reasons I’ve recommended them to businesses all around town. To say that the experts at PS Flood Barriers provided the right product for our situation would be an understatement.” 

To learn more about PS Flood Barriers products, contact Terry Smith at 877-446-1519. 

About Norwood, Massachusetts: Norwood, Massachusetts, is located in Norfolk County, Massachusetts. Part of the Greater Boston area, the town’s population currently rests at 28,600. Established in 1872, Norwood’s slogan is “The town everyone returns to.”