Lake Boren flooding options considered in new study

November 3, 2011

By Christina Lords

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Large drainage system could be installed by next summer, budget permitting

Preliminary efforts are under way to evaluate how flooding of Lake Boren might be regulated in the future.

Public Works Director Mark Rigos said flooding has been caused by land-use changes upstream in the China Creek Drainage Basin and by lack of maintenance on the lake’s natural stream outlet, or Boren Creek, on the south side of the lake.

The flooding could be physically alleviated by a large storm drainage system, equipped with a weir and jailhouse window, which would allow for overflow.

The weir’s width and elevation would be determined by engineering consultants Gray and Osborne Inc. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife would ultimately approve the work, Rigos said.

From the manhole, the water would be conveyed by a buried pipe or culvert system between Coal Creek Parkway and the outflow channel. It would be discharged into Boren Creek north of 84th Way.

Residents said King County used to dredge the south side of the lake and the stream channel, but that work ceased after Newcastle was incorporated in 1994, Rigos said.

The flooding has worsened over the past several years, he said.

The City Council approved a contract with Gray and Osborne at its Oct. 18.

The work will include a topographic survey of the area; a hydraulic analysis of the lake and outlet channel; wetland delineation; and preparation of topographic, profile and cross-section maps. It is expected to cost between $35,000 and $40,000.

Councilman Sonny Putter said while he supports the project, he is worried about giving residents a false sense of hope if the actual construction costs are too great for the city to complete.

While definitive construction costs are not yet available, the project could cost about $150,000*, Rigos said.

Under a best-case scenario, construction could be done as early as next summer.

Once the technical and professional studies are complete, the next major step will be to begin the process of submitting the appropriate permits to state and federal agencies. That step is tentatively scheduled for the spring of 2012.

Councilwoman Lisa Jensen said the issue has been a problem for residents too long and she is glad to see the first steps of the project moving forward.

* This story contains updated information.

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