New storm water management projects approved

December 2, 2010

By Tim Pfarr

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The City Council approved 10 new capital projects aimed at alleviating major storm water problems in the city, such as erosion and roots in pipes.

The projects, which together cost $700,000, will be completed throughout the coming years. The city will pay for the projects as it goes.

The 2011 preliminary budget calls for four of the projects to be completed next year. The first is a $50,000 project aimed at controlling water levels on Lake Boren, as the lake floods homes on the northern side of the lake during the fall and winter.

“I think it is an important project in our city,” Councilwoman Lisa Jensen said. “Having our lake, we want to keep it functioning and as it should be: a valued asset.”

The details of the project have not yet been specified, but Councilman Bill Erxleben emphasized that the $50,000 should be used for mitigation now, leaving a more expensive study for later.

Mayor John Dulcich agreed.

“This has been an issue. I guess it gets down to the science and the practical reality, that there is an issue there,” he said. “With more development coming in, we need to look at it closely.”

The other projects scheduled for next year are a $10,000 engineering study of the Lake Washington Boulevard culvert that burst last year; a $70,000 pond retrofit project that will repair the ponds at 144th Avenue Southeast and Southeast 79th Drive; and a $120,000 pond retrofit project that will fix the inlet of a pond in the Olympus neighborhood.

Contract engineer Joe Simmler brought forward nine of the new projects, taking into account more than 50 citizen complaints about storm water runoff in the city. The council unanimously voted to add the project aimed at controlling Lake Boren water levels.

The funding for the Lake Boren project was taken from the lowest priority project on the list: a driveway drainage project to be completed on 116th Avenue Southeast.

The six remaining new projects are scheduled to be completed between 2012 and 2016, according to the 2011 preliminary budget.

In addition to capital projects, the surface water management fund also pays for operations and maintenance, and annual programs, such regional watershed programs. These ongoing expenses total about $740,000 per year. Fees from property owners finance the surface water management fund.

For the full list of surface water projects and the years each will be funded, see the surface water utility section of the 2011 preliminary budget — which begins on page 109 — on the city’s website. The new projects are S-014, 15, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22 and 23.

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