Monday, March 16, 2009

You can use sand bags, but can't build a levee

Here is a case where government does not help. A Fort Wayne business had 74 units flooded causing $2 million in damage. The city was not going to protect him so he did it himself by building a two foot berm. Now the City has ordered him to tear it out after three years. The reason is he filled in a floodway.

Do you think they would have issued a permit knowing that this land was basically an overflow area that reduces flooding of other properties? Its the property of least resistance.

He would be able to place all the sand bags he wants around the property, but when it comes to installing an earthen berm (no different than landscaping) well we certainly can't be having the general public usurping the government's create dependency.

If only the public knew that government agencies have been using what is referred to as the Rational Method in calculating storm water runoff. I had a problem well over a decade ago with storm water runoff from a developer. It was maddening to deal with the local agency and nearly as bad with the state agencies. They changed their tune once an error was found in their manual used for calculating storm water runoff. It turned out that civil engineers had misinterpreted a national weather chart a very long time ago and no one had ever questioned them on it.

Was the floodplain identified on any plat and if so who identified it as such? The problem is really one of developments dumping water into natural drainages' that exceed what they can naturally handle. The problem originates with the permits that are issued for building that do not adequately control the runoff from new sites. All one needs to do is look at the old Southtown Mall and the new stores that are there now. Do they have the proper detention needed so that the runoff that ultimately flows into the river is no greater at any given time than what was there prior to developing the land? In most cases, you cannot exceed the capacity of a ten year rain. What we had recently was most likely far greater. This means Southtown and other developments have legal permits to flood others out.

3 Comments:

At 3:37 PM, Blogger Bob G. said...

Bill:
MY first thought about this (having lived within a 1/4 mile from the DELAWARE RIver (which is a REAL river that never flooded US out), was why NO ONE ever bothered to DREDGE the rivers we have HERE.

Accumulated junk lies on the bottom, year after year, and when you get SO MUCH of that stuff, it WILL raise the level of the river, especially whenever it receives more water from rainfall.

ANd "if" that wouldn't work, then, for God's sake, build some retention WALLS along the areas most prone to flooding.

Other cities have done it (Philly has the Schuykill River done w/ walls thoughout the entire run as it passes through the city), and it WORKS.

There are too many solutions to this persistent problem that keep getting ignored.

B.G.

 
At 10:51 AM, Blogger WilliamLarsen said...

Bob, you are 100% correct. Dredging the rivers would do several things such as clean them up, allowing a larger volume of flow, potentially make them more usable and potentially clean out contaminants.

The rivers we have here tend to flood with ease. Every property owner should have the right to protect their property. I see nothing wrong with what this person did. The problem I have is that his property was decided by some government agency to be a flood zone and he permits were given to build upon it. Once permits are granted, I would think you have the right to use your property and to keep other peoples storm water runoff off your property. Bob, you are 100% correct. Dredging the rivers would do several things such as clean them up, allowing a larger volume of flow, potentially make them more usable and potentially clean out contaminants.

The rivers we have here tend to flood with ease. Every property owner should have the right to protect their property. I see nothing wrong with what this person did. The problem I have is that his property was decided by some government agency to be a flood zone and he permits were given to build upon it. Once permits are granted, I would think you have the right to use your property and to keep other peoples storm water runoff off your property.

 
At 12:03 PM, Blogger Bob G. said...

SOunds like a plan to me, Bill...
But then again, I tend to lean towards common sense...
(something "big government" wouldn't know about if it up and bit 'em all in the butt).

 

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