FENWICK ISLAND – A three-part plan to address bayside street flooding will move forward with the town council’s approval.
Last Friday, the Fenwick Island Town Council voted unanimously to a three-part plan that includes replacing backflow preventer valves, developing a flood-reduction project on Farmington Street and researching options for a town-wide mapping of all pipes and drains.
“We have water that comes up from the bay, overtop the bulkheads, and swamps everybody, and then there’s stormwater flooding, which seems to be the most urgent concern that we have,” Mayor Vicki Carmean said. “We have no final answers, and everybody who lives on the bayside knows you’re going to get flooded at some time or another … I would like to come up with a three-part plan to get started.”
Officials said the first step of the three-part plan would be to replace 18 backflow preventers throughout town.
“All the flapper valves that are in town right now are in some way, shape or form inoperable …,” said Public Works Manager Mike Locke. “To date, we have put in 24 of these backflow preventers and we are seeing great results.”
Carmean noted the replacement of the 18 valves would cost roughly $32,603.
“It won’t solve the problem, but it will make it better,” she said.
After further discussion, the council voted unanimously to purchase the 18 replacement valves.
“The people on the bayside have been suffering for quite some time as we all know,” said Councilwoman Jacque Napolitano. “We have to do something to help out here, and I think it’s worth a try.”
Carmean said the second step of the three-part plan is to have the Fenwick Island Infrastructure Committee work with engineers from George, Miles & Buhr to develop a flood-reduction project for Farmington Street. She noted that money budgeted for the project would address flooding issues near Our Harvest and along the roadway.
“I think the infrastructure committee and the residents of that street all need to have some input on what happens,” she said.
Carmean added the final step of the three-part plan would be to have the infrastructure committee make recommendations for a pipe and drain master plan.
“I’d like to have the infrastructure committee take a look at another proposal put out by the Resiliency Implementation Plan to create a master plan of all the valves and drains in town,” she said. “We have no big picture of all the valves and drains. We have no idea where they are. So there is a company that can do this, and they use their technology to put the information on a computer program so that if we have a problem with flooding we can see where the pipes and drains are and maybe make adjustments.”
Carmean said it would take an estimated $68,000 to develop an inventory of the town’s pipes and drains.
“It doesn’t make sense to me that we’re going from one wet spot to another and saying, ‘What can we do?’” she said. “It’d be nice if we had this mapped out.”
After further discussion, the council voted 7-0 to approve steps two and three of the three-part plan.
“We have an issue, bayside flooding, that’s been going on in this town forever, and little Band-Aids have been put on the problem for years and years,” she told community members last week. “We can no longer do Band-Aids.”