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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

City drainage issues may get closer look

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The city's drainage issues may get a closer look during the next budget cycle, with Shelbyville's public works director saying he needs more men to tackle the problem of flood prevention.

A line of storms dropped over three inches of rain Monday, and public works director Mark Clanton said that drainage "is really a hot topic right now," noting that when a resident's yard floods after a two-hour downpour, it becomes a personal issue for them.

"They want something done and they want it done right then," Clanton said.

Clanton listed 13 drainage projects where work needs to be performed on drainage ditches, as well as culvert replacement and the installation of new curbs and gutters. The proposed projects were submitted last year to be conducted during this fiscal cycle, which ends on June 30, 2013.

But Clanton advised that the list does not cover all the projects that need to be tackled, and that they "probably all won't get done this year," but will try to get most completed.

Costs coming

However, the big project is a federally mandated project on the city's storm water and sewer system, called an MS4 permit. The city will have to hire a consulting firm to completely review and update Shelbyville's storm water ordinances, manuals, and subdivision regulations to include new EPA permit requirements under the state department of environment and conservation permit.

Clanton said that the permit cycle ends on Sept. 1, 2015, and "this has to be done, it's a must, and we're already a year behind." His department is in the process of talking to different firms about the project.

It will be a substantial part of the storm water budget, costing $25,000. The budget so far this year for expenditures for storm water is $10,000, and Clanton said that the road projects will have to be prioritized. Balance for all of the 13 projects, minus the work on the MS4 permit, is $45,000.

Problem areas

Clanton noted that each project will have a downstream or upstream impact, affecting entire neighborhoods, and plans have been made for most of the areas.

"A real flooding issue" exists for several Fairoak Street homes, city manager Jay Johnson said, but proper repairs include work to be done a block away. It will benefit the homes where the water goes and eight other dwellings nearby.

The same situation exists on Adams Drive, Clanton explained, where culvert replacement is planned. Councilman Thomas Landers said he was concerned because every time it rains, he gets as many calls about flooding as Clanton's office does.

Deep water

The city manager said that when the storms hit on Monday, parts of North Main Street had five to six inches of water streaming across the roadway.

Johnson said that the council will need to either hire more workers for the public works department to tackle the drainage issues "in house," or bid the work to outside firms.

Two of the projects -- drainage ditch work on Maplewood Drive at Locust Street and installing a new curb and gutter on Hilltop Drive -- will require an outside firm due to concrete work.

"It's a matter of money first and foremost, but then it's the question of how we get the best use out of that money," Johnson said. Drainage wasn't an issue during the long dry spell this summer, but with the recent downpours, the issue is now showing up all over town.

Staffing issue

When Clanton had a full staff before budget cuts were made two years ago, teight workers dealt with drainage issues. But now, "I'm doing good to have two people," he said.

Clanton said if his department starts dropping off on dealing with the issue, "then you're going to have problems like we're looking at right now, where things get out of hand and you can't stay on top of it."

A major issue is that the city is not keeping up with yard waste collections, and that is causing many of the drainage problems, Johnson said, explaining that anytime Clanton's solid waste crews have time, that's what they try to catch up on.

Clanton said if he had three more people to work on just drainage, it would clear up a lot of the problems.

Problem area

One area that will need major work is the levee basin on West Jackson Street, which will require a complete reworking of the drainage basin and may be a possible grant opportunity.

Johnson suggested that the council look at the issue again next March and see where they are at with the budget, and Clanton is searching for storm water and infrastructure grants to help fund the repairs and improvements.

Landers agreed that the council "needs to look at this a lot more seriously," referring to the storm water budget.