Following above-average rainfall in the first few months of 2013, Ashe County continues to deal with the effects of stormwater runoff at county infrastructure sites.
“The (Ashe County Landfill) continues to experience more water than it really needs,” said County Manager Dr. Pat Mitchell. “We continue to monitor catchment basins there every time it rains.”
After six inches of rain fell on Jan. 30, a catchment basin near the landfill, which holds runoff until it can soak into the ground, overflowed, depositing silt onto adjacent private property and into a nearby stream, Mitchell said. The basin managed to contain the four inches of rain that fell last week.
But the problem first arose last summer, she said, when the same catchment basin overflowed, dumping silt onto the same adjacent property. The county handled clean-up using its own personnel, and no figure for the cost is currently available.
“Some of the damage has been caused by rain cutting trenches so it’s not anything we’re causing, but we are responsible for the catch basin,” Mitchell said. “We’ve not fixed anything yet.”
Runoff has also been a problem for the new parking lot construction at Family Central. “Behind the gym, we are building additional parking to serve the gym and users of the ball field,” Mitchell said.
Stripped of grass and ground cover, and with a large mound of dirt brought in for grading, the not-yet-paved parking area is generating silt under heavy rainfall, she said. The project did not budget for a base course of gravel.
A bare slope beyond the parking area is also a source of silt runoff. The area had just been seeded 10 days before the most recent rain, which washed the grass seed away, she said.
Estimating the cost of responding to runoff issues at Family Central, Mitchell said, “We have spent about $10,000.”
“To help with existing and future rain events, we are looking at a new sedimentation basin to catch water, a rock ditch to help slow down water if there is a heavy rain event, and (we will) continue to monitor for preventative measures we can use,” she said.
Runoff has also been an issue for the Ashe County Airport runway extension project, where January’s rain soaked the large embankment of fill dirt at the end of the runway, washing away months of work. Damages to the project totalled $80,000, Mitchell said.
No new damage at the airport was reported after last week’s rain, but the catchment basin, which broke and flooded nearby properties in January, is still under repair, she said.
When it comes to sedimentation and erosion control, the county must conform to state regulations, she said. But, if problems persist, the county may have to consider engineering storm water control measures.
“Storm water control is a whole other thing,” she said.