Council expected to commission $38,000 Lake Street flood study

By 
KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM
Ozaukee Press staff

as expected Wednesday to consider hiring a consultant to study flooding along Lake Street.

The $38,214 study, which was recommended by the Board of Public Works, calls for engineering firm Stantec Consulting Services to model the flow of storm water from Valley Creek to see how it flows over the culvert in Veterans Memorial Park — whether it travels to the lake, is diverted toward the city’s water filtration plant or to the Lighthouse Condominiums.

The study comes in response to flooding that occurred in August when more than nine inches of rain fell on Port. At the condominium high-rise, water filled the underground parking lot, submerging more than 20 vehicles and other property and knocking out the elevator. Water also surrounded  the city’s water filtration plant.

“We’re really determining why the water went the way it did,” Ald. John Sigwart, a member of the Board of Public Works, said last week. “That’s probably valuable.”

Results of the study would be presented to the Board of Public Works before additional work to identify four alternative solutions would be authorized.

“There could be an easy fix, but we won’t know until we do the modeling,” Public Works Director Rob Vanden Noven told the Board of Public Works.

The study will model 10, 100 and 500-year storms to see how the water flows and its impact on the area.

A 10-year storm is defined as one that exceeds 3.77 inches of water in 24 hours, while a 100-year storm is one that drops 6.4 inches or more and a 500-year event drops 8.87 inches of water or more in a day, according to the proposal.

The swale that leads from the Valley Creek culvert to the lake was designed to handle a 100-year storm, Vanden Noven told the Board of Public Works.

During the August storm, the culvert wasn’t able to handle all the water coming down the creek because a large tree stump blocked it — a situation the city plans to prevent by installing a trash rack that will divert such obstructions.

But there are also concerns that obstructions such as curbs mean the water doesn’t head to the lake but instead flows south on Lake Street toward the condominium building.

The study will build on the findings of work done by Stantec last week, Vanden Noven said.

It is expected to be completed within five weeks of Stantec receiving survey information from the city.

The Valley Creek flooding is not the only flooding issue the Board of Public Works is studying.

Flooding on the city’s west side is also being addressed, although the Board of Public Works has yet to come up with a plan for the area.

The city along with Stantec had come up with a $1 million-plan to mitigate flooding on the west side three years ago but the plan was abandoned after several property owners refused to provide the city with easements needed for the work.

Those same property owners have again indicated they will not provide easements for the work, Vanden Noven told the board.

However, he noted, at least one of the residents may be selling their house.

“I’m in favor of buying houses to help the situation,” Sigwart said.

But even if the city bought the three houses on North Spring Street most affected by flooding, Vanden Noven said, it wouldn’t solve all the problems. A flood mitigation project would need to be done, just on a smaller scale.

The purchase of even one of the houses would also make it easier to do the project, he said, because the city would not need to “shoehorn” work between the houses.

The board indicated it would like to look at a solution for the area that would handle a 100-year storm. Vanden Noven and Stantec representative Richard Klein are expected to come up with a proposal for a study for the board’s March or April meeting.

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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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