Drainage mapping continues

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Lewisburg's Stormwater Management Office would appear to have approximately one quarter of the city mapped to show drainage patterns - a tool that's to be used when new construction is planned.

Progress toward completion is faster when the department has someone who's familiar with the size of pipes used in the city, according to Corey Pleas, the man running the office located in the historic Ladies Lest Room near the north east corner of Lewisburg's public square.

"It's kind of hard to drive down the road and do the mapping," Pleas explained Monday morning as more rain fell on Marshall County the week after schools were closed out of concern for flooding.

Pleas has been working with Neal Owens, who was transferred to the stormwater office from animal control duties.

"Before him," Pleas said, "I had someone else."

The direction of water flows is being mapped all across the city because it's a state requirement.

"It's something that was to have been done before" he led the office, Pleas said.

Since it was not, the director of the Water Pollution Control Division of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation issued an order to do the mapping and other things. A $10,000 civil penalty was also attached to the order. The city has been appealing the order.

Meanwhile, there's been some confusion about the nature of the city's Stormwater Management Office.

"We had a bunch of calls the other day because of rain," Pleas said.

Some homes flooded and there were complaints about clogged drains.

"But there's nothing that I can do about that," Pleas said. "That's Public Works' job."

He said he could receive the information and call the department, but residents reporting flood conditions could call directly.

"I don't have a backhoe and there's nobody but me in the department," he said.

Meanwhile, the City Council has been voting to adopt a new stormwater management ordinance.

Among the more prominent adjustments to the city law, Pleas said, concerns detention.

Attention to stormwater detention "is beefed up," Pleas said.

Drainage avenues for stormwater include places where the rush of water flowing down hill - and even faster when the hill is a paved road or parking lot, or the roof of a building - is slowed so soil erosion will be prevented and the stormwater will have time to seep into the ground.