Port board to consider Lake Street flood solutions

Options identified by study range from regrading lot to a second culvert
By 
KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM
Ozaukee Press staff

Design options intended to decrease the potential for flooding along Lake Street will be considered by the Port Washington Board of Public Works when it meets Tuesday, Sept. 10.

Public Works Director Rob Vanden Noven said those options could include everything from changing the grade of the parking lot next to Inventors BrewPub and the street to installing a second culvert in the area.

Installation of a trash rack to catch debris before it clogs the culvert is something Vanden Noven said will be done, but the city needs to know what changes may be made to the system before that can be done.

Whatever measures the city takes, he said, will complement those being taken by residents of the Lighthouse Condominium, which was flooded during last August’s 500-year storm.

Former Port Washington Public Works Director Bob Dreblow, who told the board he has been hired by the condominium board to look at options to protect the building, said the problems there stemmed from two things — there was a storm sewer connection between the garage and street that allowed water to back up into the basement and water overtopped a retention wall.

“We had a perfect storm here,” Dreblow said, adding the condo association is considering what it will do to mitigate those issues.  

The board reviewed a study by its engineering consultant Stantec during its August meeting before asking Vanden Noven and project engineer Rich Klein to come up with a list of potential solutions.

As part of that, Klein said, the city needs to decide what its goals are, whether they are to protect the nearby water filtration plant or the condominiums, and what it’s willing to do to achieve those goals.

One woman questioned whether they are the same goals, since protecting the plant would likely also protect the condo building.

“The report told me what I expected to hear,” Vanden Noven said. “We designed for a 100-year event when we redesigned (Lake) street.”

The culvert and swale through Veterans Park will direct stormwater from a 100-year storm to the lake, he said, if the culvert isn’t blocked. However, in August that culvert was blocked by a huge root ball that had washed downstream. 

But it isn’t adequate to handle runoff from a 500-year storm, which is what the city encountered last year, Vanden Noven said.

Even in a 100-year storm, Vanden Noven added, the water would flow over the top of the driveway at the condo building.

Dreblow said that water could have been handled by the sump pumps, but they burned out when trying to handle the water coming through the manhole in the basement of the building.

In addition to obtaining a list of flood mitigation options for Lake Street, the board is also expected to get an update on a flood study of the Larabee Street basin on the city’s west side when it meets in September. That area also suffered significant damage from last August’s floods.

To facilitate that discussion, the board will tour the basin at 5:30 p.m., prior to holding its regular meeting at 6:30 p.m.

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