CLAYTON — City council adopted an ordinance under emergency status last Thursday to approve amendments to Codified Ordinance Part Nine titled ‘Streets, Utilities, and Public Services Code’ to amend Chapter 907 to add a new section detailing maintenance of detention basins, retention ponds and other drainage improvements.
Over the last several months, and especially during heavy spring rainfall, the maintenance department realized a new section needed to be added to the codified ordinances that dealt with retention ponds.
“We’ve got several retention areas that aren’t maintained quite like they should,” said Randy Sanders, public services director. “Our ordinances covered stagnant water and things like that but it really didn’t address things we needed to do like pumps in these retention areas that need to be fixed, including maintenance so we added Section 907.08 to deal with those areas.”
Vice Mayor Tim Gorman said that the county has to approve detention basins before blueprints are approved and then after it is built, it has to be approved again. Sanders confirmed that to be true.
“So, if it is not correct why is it the developer’s fault or the home owner’s association fault or whoever owns the property at that point?” Gorman asked.
Sanders explained that the issue is not that the detention basin is not correct; it is that it is not being properly maintained.
“If you don’t take the vegetation away from those retention areas, that vegetation goes into the bottom of that basin and plugs the pump,” Sanders explained.
He also noted that Clayton has the oldest retention basin in the county and several others that are nearly as old. The oldest is located behind Green Glen Apartments and it is run by a pump and no maintenance has been performed on it.
“It is basically overgrowth of the trees, especially down at Green Glen. That retention area has a lot of overgrowth and it has plugged that pump for several years,” Sanders said.
Sanders pointed out that the basin overflows during heavy rainfall and affects a neighboring property and creates quite a mess. Language in the new section of the ordinance addresses maintenance issues.
It is considered a dry retention basin and not a wet system.
The Summersweet plat has five retention areas, three of which are maintained while the other two are partially maintained, and those two tend to have swarms of mosquitoes, according to Sanders.
“Those five basins have concrete channels and if they are not cleaned out the water backs up and becomes stagnant and keeps backing up along each adjoining property and leads to mosquito issues,” Sanders said.
The new section of the ordinance has enforcement guidelines in place if a retention basin is not properly maintained. It also prevents a neighbor from blocking the flow out of the basin by placing rocks or other structures to impede the outward flow.
Before the city would take any legal action property owners would be notified to give them a certain amount of time to fix the issue.
The city typically will go in and fix any problems the first time, but after that the property owner needs to address any future issues.
In a related matter, the city recently addressed a drainage issue on Westbrook Road.
“We found an area down there where a ditch enclosure was completely plugged,” Sanders said. “We took the entire ditch enclosure out. It was part of the problem on Volk Drive where it was sending water down onto a couple of residential properties. We have been trying to find the issue for a long time.”
Sanders said crews thought the ditch enclosure was functioning because the end was open but it was discovered that it was completely plugged.
“We tried to jet it out but we had to take it out to fix the problem,” Sanders added.