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December 25, 2012

Jeffersonville’s stormwater master plan presented to sewer board

Sewer board approves funding shifts

JEFFERSONVILLE — Jeffersonville’s Drainage Board got its first full view of the stormwater masterplan at its meeting last week.

The 21-page presentation given to the drainage board offered the scope of problems with the stormwater system in the city and a host of solutions to improve Jeffersonville. Christopher B. Burke Engineering, LCC helped develop the masterplan during the last 18 months with local partner Jacobi, Toombs and Lanz, Inc.

“The masterplan provides a roadmap,” said Sheila McKinley, senior resource planner for environmental planning with Christopher B. Burke Engineering, LCC. “That’s pretty important. It’s going to get you from where you are now with some flooding, drainage, water quality issues to hopefully resolving those issues. It addresses both existing and anticipated future problems.”

She said within the study 205 problems were identified and mapped related to drainage and stormwater issues in Jeffersonville. The breakdown of the problems included 32 flooded buildings, 46 instances of street flooding, 60 drainage issues and 20 restrictive structures or obstructions.

For the issues identified there were 45 solutions offered.

“[The] masterplan components were prioritized based on several factors including access to funding, independence from other projects and ease of implementation,” McKinley said.

Within the plan 33 components were identified, which consisted of 15 structural projects. Structural projects included projects like adding green infrastructure, upgrading or installing storm sewers and constructing water detention systems. The remaining 18 components were nonstructural and consisted of things like updating ordinances and policies, updating the flood response plan and conducting additional, or more in-depth stream studies.

Siavash Beik, director of the water resource department with Christopher B. Burke Engineering, LLC recommended doing a mix between structural and non-structural solutions to address the stormwater problems.

He explained that nonstructural changes could greatly impact local residents with things like their designation in a floodplain.

If an improved flood mapping study were undertaken, it could change the area floodplain maps, moving some homes out of those areas. By doing that the homes would not be required to purchase flood insurance and as a result could save a significant amount of money.

But Jacobi, Toombs and Lanz Engineer Josh Hillman warned that flooding is not the only issue the drainage board will be dealing with in choosing the projects and recommendations offered in the masterplan.

“Some of what you’re going to see in the masterplan is that we’re not only dealing with a water quantity issue, we’re dealing with a water quality issue that are things that are soon to become regulations from IDEM [Indiana Department of Environmental Management] and the EPA,” he said.

City Engineer Andy Crouch added it will be the drainage board’s decision to prioritize which items are undertaken first, although a series of recommendations were offered.

“This is a draft plan and this is your plan,” he said. “If you did all these [solutions] ... and we got another Aug. 4, 2009 that rolled through here tomorrow, all bets are off,” he added. “This will solve it up to a type of storm and an amount of water that we typically can handle and what most communities can handle.”

Jorge Lanz, president of Jacobi, Toombs and Lanz Inc., encouraged the board to review the plan and come back with questions or comments at the drainage board’s second January meeting.

“I think from this plan we should be able to put together some kind of a budget [and] look and see what other monies are available,” he said.

Lanz added that there are three projects that are ready to move forward on in the spring.

One project 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 that have been proposed for the spring but are not under way are the retention pond at Falls Landing Park and an improvement project at 8th Street and Hopkins Lane.

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