UNION — With an increase in heavy rainfall events over the last few years the City of Union has experienced a few flooding issues despite having adequately sized storm sewers.
The city plans to apply for funding to install an additional drain pipe beneath State Route 48 east into the Stillwater River Valley.
In the first week of July 2017 the city was drenched with 6.34 inches of rain in one day over a period of about two or three hours. It was the first time-ever that the city’s sewer plant handled almost 8 million gallons of water runoff.
Five weeks before that between four and five inches of rain fell in a short period of time causing street flooding. The city inspected all of its storm sewers and all were clear. The flooding was made worse due to runoff coming across Sweet Potato Ridge Road from a wooded area adjacent to a farm field in Clayton and a portion of Englewood and into the subdivision where Laurelgrove Drive, Applegate Road and Martindale Road is located. When the 6.34 inches of rain fell in July 2017 water 12 inches deep was flowing across Phillipsburg-Union Road from Hartman Creek.
City Manager John Applegate had his road department personnel walk from the falls located on the north side of Phillipsburg-Union through a five foot pipe all the way up and it was spotless. They looked up every catch basin and up every line.
When the bridge on Phillipsburg-Union washed out years ago the city put in a new culvert with a 60 inch pipe. The city tied the catch basins located behind Keller Court and a section of Lutz Drive into the new system so that there are now two lines going out of the catch basins. That ties into an 8 foot diameter pipe running beneath State Route 48 north of Phillipsburg-Union Road.
Now the city plans to add another large pipe beneath State Route 48 to help handle heavy rainfall, which has been on the increase in recent years. In 2017 the city broke rock up in Hartman Creek from Phillipsburg-Union south all the way to Martindale Road. The bed was widened by four feet while about 18 inches of rock was removed.
“The rains that we have had at the end of 2018 and first part of this year, we were within probably six inches one or two times of overflowing where the creek runs down along the backs of the houses on Lutz,” Applegate said. “It didn’t overflow because of the work that we already did.”
Applegate said he believes the climate is changing and that we are entering another rainy period in the history of the world. Rainfall has been steadily increasing over a number of years, he noted, citing research performed by Mike Ekberg, manager for water resource monitoring for the Miami Conservancy District.
“This has been happening for some time and I am thinking that we really need to come up with something to control the runoff,” Applegate said. “It’s an expensive solution, but if we don’t address this it could cause more flooding to take place.”
The city installed the 60 inch pipe along State Route 48 back in 1974 or 1975 north of Phillipsburg-Union Road to tie into the 8 foot pipe beneath 48 and it stopped all of the flooding issues. Before that all of the streets would flood in the Applegate Road subdivision where there are low areas. Those drainage improvements worked great until the last two years.
Now the city is looking at installing another pipe beneath State Route 48 south of Phillipsburg-Union that would handle any excess flow and divert it away from the city. A series of pipes will carry any overflow of water away from pipes feeding the existing 8 foot pipe north of Phillipsburg-Union to the pipe the city hopes to install beneath 48 south of Phillipsburg-Union.
“All we are doing is making sure that if we get these hellacious rains that we can handle the runoff,” Applegate said. “But, it’s like I said… if it happens to be a 200 year rain event, nothing will handle that.”
The city hopes to secure an Issue II grant consisting of 50 percent grant, 50 percent loan to upgrade the stormwater collection system. The city doesn’t know if it can secure the funding. The application is in the process to be funded in the 2021 funding cycle.