Storm drain project reduce local flooding

Heavy rains during the first few days of October dumped a large amount of water that in previous years had caused flooding in many neighborhoods in Palmetto Bay, but the village’s storm drain improvement projects have made a difference in the areas in which they have been completed, according to Corrice Patterson, Village Public Works director.

“We’ve had a lot of success with the drainage projects that we’ve implemented,” said Patterson during an Oct. 3 interview. “We did see some issues last night. We had one roadway where we actually had to close the roadway, which was caused by debris covering the drain structure. Water wasn’t flowing down the drain sufficiently, but it had nothing to do with the drain structure itself. It was just debris in the roadway, from the leaves of the trees to landscape materials from private properties, flowing through the water runoff and staying atop the grates of the drain. We cleaned the tops of the drainage structure and the water had receded this morning.”

Patterson said that the department had received three calls from residents about structures covered with debris and Public Works employees cleaned those off in case there is another rain event.

One dramatic improvement in an area that had problems in the past and this time had no flooding after the drainage project brought a sincere “thank you” email message from an appreciative resident who knows more than a little about weather problems.

“Just wanted to let you know that all during last night’s deluge, we remained high and dry over on 145th Terrace, thanks to the recently completed drainage enhancement project,” said Don Noe, famous for his television weather forecasts. “We had over seven inches of rain, five of which fell in just two hours as measured by my two rain gauges at my house.

“I frequently looked outside during the rainstorm and found very little standing water on the street where in years past there would have been extensive flooding during a similar event. This morning I got the paper at dawn and the street was completely dry!This never would have happened if the project had not occurred.”

Patterson said that the work of improving drainage in flood-prone areas is an ongoing project.

“This year we’re scheduled to do seven small areas,” Patterson said. “We’ve completed five of those areas. Our systems are functioning.”

She also adds that in those areas where the projects already have helped, homeowners have unwittingly contributed to potential flooding by creating barriers around the drain structure.

“One of the problems is that people have landscaped their yards,” Patterson said. “They have mulch, they have rocks, certain things they have in their yards that during a rainstorm of this nature are going to flow with the water, which then flows down the roadway and settles in the drains. With our website we try to teach people what they can and can’t do around these structures.”

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