By BRADEN LAMMERS
JEFFERSONVILLE — A stormwater master plan that seeks to address more than 200 problems that were identified in Jeffersonville related to drainage and stormwater problems was approved at the city’s Drainage Board meeting Tuesday night.
The master plan, which was developed by Christopher B. Burke Engineering, LCC and Jacobi, Toombs and Lanz, Inc. over 18 months, identified and mapped 205 problem related to drainage and stormwater issues. The breakdown included 32 flooded buildings, 46 instances of street flooding, 60 drainage issues and 20 restrictive structures or obstructions.
A technical description of 45 solutions to the flooding issues were offered, but not all of the projects included in the plan are expected to be undertaken and were deemed “wish list” items. The solutions provided in the master plan were designed serve as a “road map” of suggested projects, said the group that developed the master plan.
Jorge Lanz, president of Jacobi, Toombs and Lanz, referenced a combination of projects, one of which the board has already begun and those of importance on the horizon.
The project that has started is the Roselawn Court and Magnolia Avenue drainage improvement project, with an estimated construction cost of $475,000. The plans for the drainage improvements are to be finalized by February and construction is set to begin in April.
Two other projects expected to being in the spring are the retention pond at Falls Landing Park and a storm sewer improvement project at 8th Street and Hopkins Lane.
But the project Lanz cited as the among the most telling will be when the $40 million in improvements to the wastewater treatment plant will be able to be used up to its full potential.
“The 10th Street pump station has been completed, but we can’t pump that full capacity to the treatment plant because the treatment plant can’t receive it yet,” he said.
Lanz explained once the treatment plant is completed, it will be able to take more combined sewage away from the volume that can be held in the city’s stormwater system, along with mitigation from the aforementioned projects set to begin this spring.
“When all those things are done and we have a rainstorm, we’ll be able to determine, OK here’s what’s left,” he said.
Lanz added that he anticipates the next factor that will be apparent in resolving flooding in the city is the stage at which the Cane Run pump station begins pumping water. He called it “crucial” to the drainage of Jeffersonville.
Following some discussion, City Engineer Andy Crouch asked, “does anybody have any issues in general with the master plan? Is there any reason for us not to approve this master plan and then start working towards the projects in it?”
While the board did not offer any general opposition to the plan it was originally presented with at its December meeting, several questions about details in the plan were asked, as well as how to determine the next step moving forward.
Among the questions was a city-wide flood response plan included in the master plan and whether or not that should fall under the purview of the drainage board.
“We don’t have a flood...management plan,” said Jeffersonville Stormwater Coordinator Deb Ashack. “That’s part of the recommendation is to develop one. If we don’t have stormwater we don’t have a flooding problem. The two really need to be integrated together. If we address runoff and we do it properly, then we eliminate the flooding problems.”
Lanz referenced the flooding that occurred on Aug. 4, 2009, when multiple areas of the city flooded when nearly six inches of rain fell in an hour.
“Nobody knew what to do,” he said. “That’s what we’re talking about doing here. When that stuff happens, what’s the plan?”
Siavash Beik, director of the water resource department with Christopher B. Burke Engineering, LLC, offered that not all of the project solutions and problems will need to be resolved by the city, as some fall under the jurisdiction of other groups, and several projects could have multiple potential funding sources.
He said as the drainage board determines what projects they would want to undertake, a more detailed description of the project and how to pay for it will be provided to the board.
The drainage board unanimously approved, with Board Member Rick Madden absent, to accept the stormwater master plan as a guide to future projects subject to funds being available.
Following the master plan approval, a subcommittee was formed to review the master plan in order to prioritize and offer recommended projects to the full board. The subcommittee included the staff of the drainage board and Board Members Steve Gill and Steve McCreight.