Winter weather isn’t keeping stormwater drainage improvement work from getting done, as there are plenty of smaller projects that can be done nearly anytime.
Tuesday morning, workers completed construction on a new drainage basin, also called a “box” by crew members, on Clarksdale Circle, said Department of Public Works Foreman Steve Mathews.
By midmorning, they moved on to cleaning around and under grates in miscellaneous spots around town, such as McGrah Avenue.
“We try to do routine maintenance about every three months, just to go around and check on everything,” Mathews said.
Ben Nuckols, one of the employees using a post-hole digger to gather the accumulated material from a McGrah curb box with a rectangular opening of approximately 5 square feet, deposited piles of dirt intermingled with trash – from fast food sacks and cups to beer bottles – into green recycling bins that would be taken to the landfill later. His co-worker, Trevor Trent, used a shovel to help knock off gunk and other stickier items.
The litter is the worst culprit of clogging stormwater drainage receptacles, Nuckols said.
“If people would just quit littering so much, it would help out everything,” Mathews said.
They estimated that up to a third of the bulk was trash, and they pointed out that proportion of trash was not unique to that particular street.
They had begun trying to use plastic bags and had two of those filled as well, but they had to switch to bins because so much foreign material was piercing through them, Mathews said.
Add leaves and eroded soil to the litter, and eventually the box that is about 2 to 3 feet deep is full. The crew had started working on it once before, but had to leave it to go do something else. They made a point to get back to it because it’s so bad, Mathews said.
“They get built up over time,” he said. “If we can get them cleaned out and stay on top of it, it won’t be a problem anymore.”
Public Works has always cleaned around drainage grates some, Mathews said.
“Now we’re trying to take it a step further and really clean down in them,” he said.
That will be easier now that the two DPW staff members are designated just for stormwater work, and that was made possible by the 2013 implementation of a stormwater fee that Glasgow City Council approved in December 2012, he said.
Another frequent trouble spot is at College and South Green Streets, he said.
“We try to get through there and clean those regularly,” Mathews said. “Everything seems to attract right there, mostly leaves.”
This week also happened to be the last week for leaf pickup by city crews.
Mathews said in the past few days, they have been mapping the storm drains that have been installed in the past six months or so, like the ones on Bunche Avenue that were done in conjunction with a sidewalk project there.
The city had hired American Engineers Inc. a few years ago to map the existing ones, he said. He and his crew had done some since then with GPS software, but hadn’t had a lot of practice, so Brad Bruton, geographic information system manager at Barrens Information Technology Systems, assisted them last week with improving those skills to document the locations.
“We really appreciate that,” Mathews said.
He added that as they do some of these smaller projects like cleaning out drainage boxes, they are also going ahead and noting pipe sizes and flow direction.
Since the completion of a major stormwater project in the Castleridge subdivision in the spring, the city has continued working on smaller projects, Mathews said.
“We’ve done several pipe jobs – [putting] in drainage pipe underground for the stormwater infrastructure,” he said.
Several other catch basins have been constructed, and ditches have been reopened with a backhoe.
For example, Mathews said, sediment had filled in a ditch on Wilderness Road, and that has been opened to South Fork Creek. Also, a detention pond at Village Circle and Quail Ridge Circle that had gotten so full of debris that it was overflowing, he said.
Soil had eroded around a pipe in the Western Hills area, so a collection basin has been constructed there as well, he said.
The stormwater crew will have its hands full in 2014, as it begins to address an estimated $625,000 worth of larger projects identified in a 10-year master plan. The document of nearly 60 pages, includes background information and detailed suggested approaches for several capital and in-house projects.
More than $468,000 in stormwater fee revenue was collected by the end of the 2012-13 fiscal year that ended June 30, according to the city’s budget, and approximately $350,000 was budgeted for the current year.
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