New Drainage Valves Eyed To Ease Flooding

FENWICK ISLAND – Town officials voted last week to spend more than $23,000 on new valves to address tidal flooding issues along the bayside.

Last Friday, the Fenwick Island Town Council voted unanimously to approve the purchase of 14 additional backflow preventer valves using $23,100 within the fiscal year 2022 budget.

“In the proposed budget, I included $23,100, and the revenue source for that is (realty transfer tax) funding,” Town Manager Terry Tieman said. “We’d like to move ahead with this, so we can place the order and continue to install them in July and August.”

In recent months, officials in Fenwick Island have begun a concerted effort to address drainage issues along the town’s side streets. And in May, the council agreed to outsource the town’s mowing so the public works department could focus its efforts on replacing 11 backflow preventer valves in critical areas along the bayside.

Tieman told council members last week department staff had successfully installed the valves over the course of three weeks. To that end, she request council’s approval to move ahead with the next phase of valve replacements.

While the town has yet to approve its fiscal year 2022 budget, she told officials using funds that are dedicated in the coming year’s spending plan would allow staff to replace 14 more valves this summer.

“I believe there are 44 or 45 valves throughout the town that will have to be replaced …,” she said. “The majority of the valves that are really not operating currently will be replaced by the installation of these 14.”

When asked the timeframe for replacing the backflow preventers, Tieman said she wasn’t sure, as every valve replacement came with its challenges.

“It’s really hard to say, to give a specific timeline, but the first 11 took probably three weeks, and we’re hoping to get as many done as possible in July and August …,” she said. “Every time they open a pipe to take a valve out, they run into something different, so we want to do as many as we can, as efficiently as we can.”

With no further discussion, the council voted 7-0 to approve the purchase of 14 new valves using funds from the fiscal year 2022 budget.

“I think it makes sense to move ahead with them while we can,” Mayor Gene Langan said.

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.