Haverhill’s older sewer systems, worsened by a maintenance backlog, added to the overwhelming deluge of rain last month and contributed to significant damage to homes and businesses. Public Works Director Robert E. Ward, responding to city councilors last week, said some areas that received significant flooding received relief when debris was removed that blocked drainage systems. He also admitted some problems probably could have been avoided or diminished with regular maintenance checks. “Part of it is about maintenance—checking catch basins, culverts, drain lines, and clear or clean if needed,” he said. Ward said not only is his crew out cleaning and clearing, but they hired an outside contractor which is in the process of cleaning 1,200 catch basins. He said longer range plans are in the works, such as an 11-year project to install a significant amount of new drainage.