City works on flooding problem

Published 10:13 pm Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Iron Creek residents, who have complained about intermittent flooding problems for about 10 years, may soon be getting some relief.
During its meeting Monday, Washington’s City Council instructed City Manager Josh Kay and city staff to prepare a plan to “muck out” a ditch that’s part of the flooding problem and present a proposed budget for the project to the council at its Oct. 8 meeting.
The council also said it intends to consider other long-term solutions as it seeks an immediate short-term solution.
Kay presented three options for the council to consider during its Monday meeting. One option called for “mucking out” the ditch — removing sediment and other items from the ditch so it can better carry water away from Iron Creek lots and roads. Kay said that option would have marginal effect on the problem. The estimated cost of this option is about $30 per linear foot, with the project entailing cleaning out up to about 1,000 feet of ditch.
The second option calls for building a pump station to pump floodwaters out of the subdivision. Although that option would have a positive effect on the problem, it would cost about $2 million, Kay said.
The third option would be to build a retention pond to store floodwaters until they could be removed by the existing drainage system in the Iron Creek area. That option would have an unknown effect, with the project costing about $500,000 to build the pond, plus cost of land needed for the pond, Kay said.
“Our recommendation is really the first option we gave. Look, it’s not going to solve the problem by any stretch of the imagination, and we know that,” Kay said.
Mayor Archie Jennings weighed in on the problem.
“I’d love to think that we could go muck out that ditch and help the folks at Iron Creek, but I think everybody up here knows the problem is bigger than that,” he said.
In those 10 years Iron Creek residents have complained, flooding and drainage problems have plagued the Iron Creek community, which is a part of the city. Iron Creek’s flooding and drainage problems have been blamed on ill-designed drainage ditches, beaver dams and the clogged Mitchell Branch on the south side of U.S. Highway 264. City public-works crews have done some work over the years, helping alleviate the problem.
City officials have informed Iron Creek residents some causes of the problem are out of the city’s jurisdiction and purview.

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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