Monday, June 22, 2009

City's Storm Water Retention system holds during heavy rains

The heavy torrential rains we experienced this week put our City’s stormwater management system to the ultimate test. Fortunately, with all the new stormwater retention ponds, box culverts, and widened stream beds that were constructed over the last five years, the City’s stormwater levels were kept under control.

It was not that long ago that heavy rains, like the ones experienced this week, would have flooded many City streets, parks, yards and even some homes, apartments and businesses. Low lying areas along Forum Drive, 18th Street, Soest Road, and 10th Street used to flood on a regular basis.

The construction of six stormwater retention facilities three years ago by the City’s Public Works Department are helping the City address issues related to stormwater retention, flood control improvements and the growing need for storm sewer system upgrades. Since most of these stormwater detention facilities are located in hard-to-access areas, however, they are not easily seen or easily accessible to the public.

The six stormwater facilities include: Tory Park Detention Facility (located just east of the Forum Cinema off Tory Avenue); the Bray Sports Complex Detention Facility located adjacent to the Rolla High School (the ball field doubles as a dry detention facility – protecting downstream homes from possible flooding); the Taylor Anderson Detention Facility; Vichy Road Stormwater Detention Facility; White Columns Drive Detention Facility and the RCDC Stormwater Detention Facility (located just west of the Rolla Industrial Park).

Other projects associated with these flood control improvements identified in the City’s 10-year Capital Improvement Plan (implemented in June 2005) include the construction of 10 box culverts. The total cost of these improvements was funded by a bond issue of $3 million and an $180,000 Missouri Department of Transportation Grant. The paramount benefit of these stormwater detention improvements will remove nearly 200 homes and businesses from the 100-year flood plain. In addition to these flood control benefits, the City has added 120 acres of open space and conservation area to preserve and enhance Rolla’s sensitive eco-systems.

The City has also identified over 35 neighborhoods that have localized stormwater drainage problems. These projects, which are part of the Public Works’ annual street and storm sewer maintenance activities, are being prioritized in terms of severity, street maintenance schedule and availability of funds. The City appreciates the community’s patience and cooperation as we continue to address these very important improvements.

In closing I’d like to wish all the Dads in the community a happy Father’s Day this weekend. And remember on Sunday, June 21, there will be a Father’s Day Special at SplashZone -- Rolla’s outdoor water park (located at the corner of 14th and Holloway next to The Centre). Dads get in free with a child’s admission ($4.50). SpalshZone is open weekends from 12-noon to 6 p.m. and weekdays (Monday – Friday) from 12-noon to 7 p.m.

The July 4th weekend is just around the corner as well, which means the Lions Club Carnival will be coming to town Wednesday, July 1 through Saturday, July 4. Don’t forget that City Hall will be closed on Friday, July 3 in observance of Independence Day. Also remember that week that Friday’s trash will be picked up on Thursday and Thursday’s trash will be picked up on Wednesday.


Kevin said...

Just curious about a relatively unimportant issue. In several blog entries I have seen the new water facilities identified as "detention facilities." Is that what they are really called, or are they in fact "retention facilities"? As I said, not a terribly important issue, but if it is a mistake, I just hate to see it repeated over and over.

Rob Hribar said...

Both designed with the same purpose in mind; to slow down storm water. This in turn decreases the incidence of flooding and allows suspended sediments time to settle which reduces pollutants in the storm water discharge.

Retention ponds typically contain water year round or have permanent pools of water. Examples of these would be Schuman Pond, Ber Juan Lake and Blues Lake. The level of water in a retention pond fluctuates in response to precipitation and runoff or the lack thereof. Periodically these facilities must be drained to allow for removal of sediments that have settled to the bottom of the pond and reduced the storage capacity.

Detention ponds are typically dry except during periods of heavy rainfall or snowmelt and serve as very important flood control features. A detention pond is designed to hold large amounts of water for short periods of time, such as 24 hours. They reduce peak runoff rates decreasing flood damage and filter storm water pollutants. Examples of detention ponds include Bray Athletic Complex, Forum Cinema detention and Timber Creek detention.
Both retention and detention ponds are storm water “Best Management Practices” or BMPs and are very effective if installed properly. The City of Rolla has built 7 detention ponds since 2004 following the passing of Proposition Two. This $3,000,000 bond for citywide flood control removed approximately 200 homes and businesses from the 100 year flood plain and included box culvert and creek channel improvements as well.