Peers Street flooding studied – Southern Standard

Subterranean issues contributing to Peers Street flooding when it rains have been brought to the surface.

“I found out there’s flooding on Peers Street,” said Nathaniel Green, a joke that had city officials laughing.

Members of the city’s Roads and Sanitation Committee met and received updates on an ongoing stormwater study.

Green is an engineer with James C. Hailey & Company. The company was hired to conduct a citywide stormwater runoff study beginning with Peers Street. The ultimate goal is to determine what can be done to alleviate flooding of low-lying properties in the city, a long-standing problem for which residents routinely seek the board’s assistance in finding a solution.

“There’s a ditch that runs along Peers Street and that’s the first crossing to a culvert we’ve got. We found it to be roughly 30-inch corrugated iron pipe. We’ve found that it leads to 24″ corrugated metal tubing, which is a smaller tubing. Then it takes another turn. Here things come… I found it strange going from 30” to 24”, but it gets even stranger. They have a 20 inch line, a 30 inch line that comes in a 3ft by 5ft box.”

Using McMinnville Water and Sewer Department sewer inspection equipment, a camera system used in pipes to locate breaks, roots, or anything else that would allow tributaries to enter the system, Green was allowed a peek inside the pipes and tanks .

“There’s a lot of debris in there,” Green said. “Once you get to Chancery Street there is actually a sewer that crosses it because the sewer has to be laid at ground level (sloping down). So that’s an obstacle you have in it. Then there are several twists. The city was unable to reach those areas with the camera.”

The visual inspection entered a drain on Peers Street toward Wash N’ Roll Car Wash and then a drain at the car wash back toward Peers Street and went “as far as it could go,” according to Green.

The question was raised whether the car washes in this area use the storm drains or sewers.

“I hope they go into the sewers, but I couldn’t tell you,” Green said.

Alderman Everett Brock replied, “They have soap, so they should be.”

“It doesn’t go down the drains,” said Ricky Morton, director of the Department of Water and Sanitation.

Public Works Director Frank Southard added: “Their disposal down the gullies. I’m pretty sure.”

“That raises another issue that I’m not going to get into tonight,” Green said.

The inspection found a partially collapsed pipe that Green recommended the city repair.

After outlining issues contributing to Peers Street flooding, he offered options for the city to consider.

“So what are your options?” Green asked rhetorically. “One option might be to increase the size of the lines, which I think needs to be done anyway. Then you can decide which storm current we are looking at? Are we looking at a 2-year, 25-year, 100-year storm, or something in between? Then you can think about storage. Future developments could also be considered as impervious surfaces prevent rain from penetrating the soil and compound the problem.”

Green suggested the city could also consider purchasing land that would be left vacant and used as stormwater retention basins to reduce runoff during rain events.

Alderman Steve Harvey asked, “So what’s your recommendation?”

“I would upsize some pipes,” said Green, who also recommended trial excavations, known as potholing. “The biggest thing I want to do right now, and it’s going to take a little commitment from the city, is go spelunking and figure out what some of these line sizes are. That’s the promise I want to make to you right now – dig them up and find them and find out how big they are. Part of it collapsed, so I know we need to fix that part.”

Committee members unanimously approved exploratory test digging as recommended.

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