LINKS
Opinion

Floodplain Label Shouldn’t Disqualify Location

If the existing location would be the best choice for the new Delaware County DPW site were it not in a floodplain, then it probably is the best choice. The potential for reducing floodwater level and protecting the site are good. Defining acceptable compromises on what needs to be high and dry vs. what can get wet and how to operate during a flood event would also help. A session to outline opportunities to minimize or eliminate the floodplain issue would be time well spent.

The label ‘floodplain’ should not disqualify a site for consideration. It is based on a location having been covered with flood and water sometime in the past. While water flow volume is the primary factor in an area being flooded, what is occurring downstream also plays a role. If the bathtub drain is partly plugged while the shower is running, the tub will fill. There is no control over rainfall or snowmelt. But higher floodwater levels due to problems at the site and downstream are issues that can be addressed. Many are not readily obvious, but once identified, they offer opportunity for floodwater level reduction or at least flow management that reduces the floodplain footprint.

The 2012 FEMA FIS and the LFA studies, as currently done by engineering firms, are not adequate for defining meaningful flood mitigation options. The role of accumulated stream velocity reduction, flow obstructions downstream, is not considered. Defining effective mitigation would require a very specific contract to a highly qualified firm.

The sites proposals other than Page Avenue include significant expenditures, i.e. land acquisition and a bridge, to support the building project. If the same approach is taken to justify funds for flood mitigation for Page Avenue, the local community would also benefit from that work.

LAUREN DAVIS

MARGARETVILLE

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