GREEN: When a severe storm slammed Summit County last July, city of Green crews moved into neighborhoods, closing roads and pumping floodwaters away from homes and into storm sewers.
Official gauges at Akron-Canton Airport, located in Green, recorded 4.73 inches of rainfall within 24 hours.
As many as 50 homeowners in Green were affected by stormwater that was as much as 5 feet deep before it receded, Deputy Service Director Paul Oberdorfer said.
In response to water deep enough to float cars, Mayor Dick Norton established a stormwater initiative to look into long-term solutions.
“Flooding in Green is very isolated and confined to two or three hot spots. But we are looking at it as a chance [for the city] to be a stormwater model,” Norton said.
Council allocated up to $250,000 for immediate fixes in older residential neighborhoods that flooded when water overwhelmed the drainage system and pipes were broken or clogged by tree roots or debris. It used $150,000 to clean and grub some of the worst areas of the city.
“We put quite a few man-hours into pumping water out of drainage easements and into the stormwater system,” Oberdorfer said.
The Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District said last week it will fund studies by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in the Nimishillen and Upper Tuscarawas watershed basins, both affecting Green. The studies are expected to begin this year and take 18 to 24 months to complete.
The district will also help secure funding to improve stormwater systems.
In September, Mayor Norton appointed a Storm Water Initiative Committee of experts to develop a long-term plan to deal with the issue on a local level. The committee identified two areas that need immediate attention, and council allocated $500,000 to replace and upgrade stormwater lines on Spade Road and at the Solar Estates subdivision.
The projects are expected to be bid in midsummer, with work commencing by September.
City employees also came up with a creative idea to repurpose an old fire department rescue squad by equipping it to offer immediate help to residents.
“With the stormwater unit, the nice thing is that when we send people out in a flooded area, they will have the tools to remediate the problem,” said Oberdorfer, who also chairs the initiative committee.
The city bought a camera for the unit that will allow crews to see inside drainage pipes so they can determine the problem, such as whether the pipes are blocked by tree roots or contain broken tile, Oberdorfer said.
The unit is expected to be on the road by the end of the June.
“The unit will allow us to inspect the lines rather than just erecting a ‘Road Closed’ sign,” Oberdorfer said.
Several other communities in southern Summit County have taken steps to alleviate persistent flooding:
Officials believe they have fixed flooding problems on Killian Road near Cosmos Street by replacing a culvert under South Bender Avenue at Minor and Iris avenues, using a $100,000 Community Block Development Grant, trustee David Calderone said.
“We just had that last heavy rain and it didn’t come close to flooding,” he said.
The problems at Penguin Condominiums, where a tributary of Brewster Creek near the Akron-Coventry border frequently floods out homeowners, will require a multiyear, multimillion-dollar solution, Calderone said.
“The problems at Penguin condos must be done in sequence. In the 24 years I was fire chief, it always flooded,” he said.
Township officials are looking at several options and are considering petitioning the county and the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District to help with funding and perhaps develop a long-term plan for the area.
Mayor Al Knack said everything the village can do to prevent flooding has been done. The village is at the mercy of the Dover Dam to the south and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
When the Dover Dam is closed to prevent flooding downstream and the gates on Manchester Road up north are opened to prevent flooding in Akron, the village has less than an hour to prepare to be flooded.
“Forty-five minutes gives us just enough time to get the street-corner signs up,” Knack said.
The city is getting a $186,800 grant for a stormwater demonstration project outside City Hall, at 5611 Manchester Road, to develop a “treatment train” to manage stormwater running off the property.
A 13,000-square-foot pervious asphalt parking lot will be constructed with a drain to a 15,000-square-foot grassy bio-swale. The water then will be funneled to a 0.5-acre treatment wetland that will slow and store stormwater and reduce flooding and bank erosion at the nearby Portage Lakes.
The system, once operational, will help reduce nitrogen, phosphorous and sediments discharged to Catalina Ditch, Turkeyfoot Lake and the Upper Tuscarawas River.
The city is contributing $50,000 to the work.
The township has no perennial flooding problems except when the sluice gate (bypass) is opened at Tritt’s Mill Dam, trustee Dean Young said.
The gate, constructed in the 1800s, was once a dam on the Little Tuscarawas River.
The condition of the dam has been of some concern, he said.
“There are two sides of this debate: to remove the dam as further protection against flooding or to restore, repair and replace it so it has a better aesthetic presence and allow a pond,” Young said.
After devastating flooding in 2007, Summit County used about $300,000 in Community Development Block Grants to improve culverts and storm sewers on the numbered streets (where they are below lake level) to open routes to Springfield Lake.
There were no significant flooding problems in 2011 because the improvements were completed last year, Fiscal Officer Rick Quay said.
Kathy Antoniotti can be reached at 330-996-3565 or email@example.com.