Wicomico to place flooding concerns before public

County residents concerned about ongoing flooding can attend public meetings where they will hear presentations, be shown drainage maps and have the opportunity to share their concerns.

Meetings will be at 6 p.m. March 1 at the Pittsville Volunteer Fire Department, at 6 p.m. March 8 in the Mardela Springs Volunteer Fire Department, at 6 p.m. March 13 at the Westside Community Center and at 6 p.m. March 15 in the Wicomico County Civic Center.

Dallas Baker, Director of the county’s Public Works Department, announced the meetings when he and Weston Young, Assistant County Administrator, met with the County Council last week, in the continuing battle against flooding.

It has been especially bad at Pratt Road on the west side of the county and Kaywood Drive in the east.

The county spent $35,000 for a drainage study after heavy rains and flooding last summer damaged more than a dozen county roads, and storms in previous years resulted in similar damage.

Wicomico County Councilman Larry Dodd called the public meetings “a great idea” and said it’s important to be sure those who regularly call Council members to complain know about the sessions.

Councilman Joe Holloway said he will inform friends and neighbors and asked fellow Council members to do the same.

Baker said a grant request has been made to the Maryland Department of the Environment for a drainage study at Pratt Road.

Also, legislation is in the works for an ordinance against putting trash in swales, or filling them in, because it causes flooding in neighbors’ yards. Baker said he expects a draft of that legislation to be ready soon.

Meantime, Public Works employees have been out “making sure drainage systems are opening and functioning” and checking on Pratt Road and Kaywood Drive, Baker said.

Young said additional crews might be needed to keep ditches clean and shoulders clear. Baker said there are few vacancies in his department and they will be filled.

In December, when Baker met with the County Council about flooding, Council members directed him to determine the cost of a feasibility study. They determined it was needed after Baker updated them on drainage and showed them photographs, including those taken at Pratt Road, where the culvert was removed and where residents have complained.

Baker told them the underground pipes in the Kaywood area were looked at carefully, but nothing was blocking them.

The private, corrugated pipes that run behind that street are in excellent condition with no blockages or collapses, Baker said. Pipes are 15 to 24 inches in diameter. County pipes aren’t in that area, but farther south, he said.

At the December meeting, Council President John Cannon said steps must also be taken to address stormwater that will flow to the Nithsdale area.

“We can’t stop there … You know the people on the East Side are very concerned about this,” Dodd said at the time.

“Everybody is,” Baker said.

Reach Susan Canfora at scanfora@newszap.com.

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