Thursday, September 10, 2020

Costs and Plans for Stormwater Drainage


I referred to the City's infrastructure needs that have been neglected for decades in my recent Elephants in the Room post. And in the Drainage Survey I compiled, it was revealed that nearly 50% of the households that responded had experienced problems with stormwater drainage. The flooding last year caused seven million dollars in structural damage to homes in the City. That does not include replacement for furniture, appliances, electronics, etc.  

What do we need to bring our stormwater infrastructure into the 21st century, how much does it cost, and what do we have planned? My research indicates that our drainage system likely needs at least $170 million of upgrading  In the recently passed budget, just under $11.5 million* is scheduled to be spent in the next six years. 


When I requested an audio or video of the Finance Commission subcommittee on stormwater that met last Feb. 27, I was told there was none available. When I asked for the minutes, or even draft minutes, I received the following:  

That wasn't exactly helpful. However, I had also requested handouts from the meeting, and a PowerPoint was included. Here is the grand total of the cost estimate: 

This document seems to be based on 2017 information, and projects the timeline for the City to complete the needed work by 2023, beginning in 2017. That obviously was not accomplished.

A more modest $32.1 million proposal (the total of the column CIP FY21-26 in the below image) was also included, to begin to fix the issues now-- the total of all of the projects:  (22+3+3+3.25+.85+0=32.1) 

The $32.1 million total of all the above projects obviously was at least discussed at the February meeting. That total was far greater than what finally made it into the capital improvements budget--just under  $11.5 million, passed by the BMA:  

Here are the costs and projects that were budgeted for the last four fiscal years:  
2020 $1,075,000


2019 $200,000

2018 $350,000

2017 $1,770.000 

Some additional information and maps from the City are available on the Developments in Germantown website. Questions about the CIP budget for drainage should be directed to the City.  

Phase 1 

Phase 1b 

Phase 2 

Phase 3 

The figures of the six year budget have been updated to reflect the budget passed by the BMA. I was relying on the budget posted on the City website to be accurate. The BMA budget was slightly different from the budget passed by the Finance Commission. The total six-year CIP budget number for drainage should be $11,485,000 rather than $10,610,000.  Sadly no new project was added. The change simply moved budgeted funds unspent from last year into this year's budget. The work on Lateral E budgeted for last year was not completed. Alderman Scott Sanders contacted me about this post and requested that I correct the figures.

1 comment:

  1. Poplar Estates drainage problem is the Brookside Drive lateral A which was estimated to cost $27M to rebuild. About a decade ago the water intrusion under the concrete bed of the current drain received a Bandaid fix by pumping a concrete slurry under the base of the drainage ditch. This has now been compromised and the hillside next to the drain is now subsiding under the base of the drain allowing structures next to the ditch to start tilting and sinking. Meanwhile the volume of water has doubled due to the commercial development on the south side of Poplar. Their runoff uses the Brookside ditch and the volume and speed of the water flow is eroding the joints of the concrete liner allowing the water to undermine the dirt holding up the ditch liner. It is eroding northward and is moving about 200 feet per year leaving an ever increasing pond of water that doesn't run uphill as the concrete liner sinks into the voids created by the erosion. Mosquitoes love the pond. Why aren't the developers paying for the damage their construction is causing? The BMA should require that developers must pay for infrastructure they impact negatively. There are approximately 93 homes on both sides of the ditch that are or will soon be impacted by this problem. Why continue to allow it to grow 200 feet per year when some maintenance now could save the citizens of Germantown $27M? How about the developers paying some or all of that cost?