Monday, April 26, 2004

Storm sewer fix nearly finished



By Travis Gettys
Enquirer contributor

NEWPORT - Heavy rains sometimes turn areas of downtown into a kayaker's dream, but it's a nightmare for residents and business owners.

"We've had it flooded so bad that it goes all the way across (Monmouth Street)," said Mike Liggett, manager at Maschinot's Music. "There were kids boogie-boarding like it was a water park."

City Manager Phil Ciafardini said city officials hope that replacing 100 feet of collapsed storm sewer lines, which should be completed by the end of May, will alleviate flooding that has plagued some low-lying areas.

Last summer, Ciafardini shot home video showing torrents of muddy water rushing down Monmouth Street, with water erupting like geysers from two manholes and crashing over an embankment into Maschinot's parking lot.

"Once it starts raining really hard it's a waterfall," Liggett said.

The storm lines, which are privately owned, were added to as new housing and business developments were built, Ciafardini said, and the haphazard results show.

"You've got different-sized pipe - it zigs, it zags - you've got different quality of materials," Ciafardini said. "Eventually it will all need to be replaced."

Sanitation District No. 1 is paying for the construction, and the city will pay for the project's engineering and design, Ciafardini said.

The project is part of a new stormwater management program initiated last year that will bring city and county water systems into compliance with district quality standards, said John Lyons, director of stormwater management.

"Our commitment to cities is to make funding available for infrastructure improvements," Lyons said, adding that Newport's project is one of the first undertaken.

The sanitation department has also commissioned a study of the area's watershed to design a long-term strategy to deal with drainage patterns, which have been altered by development on surrounding hillsides, Lyons said.

Buildings and roads leave less surface area for rainwater to be absorbed into the ground, and runoff washes down to lower elevations.

"Water goes downhill, and we're at the bottom," Ciafardini said. "The principle is pretty basic, but the solution is not."

The study, which should be completed next year, will include computer models so the district can develop a long-term strategy, Lyons said.




ENQUIRER COLUMNS
Cincinnati hit hard by changes in state funding
Health ministry is church-based
Log Cabin group honors Madeira grad

TOP LOCAL HEADLINES
Church faces gay-wedding case
GOP marriage hearings are 'silliness' to critics
Many died, he survived
Memorable ride for sale
Man's story touches lives
Gunfire leaves two men dead
Power of attorney poses risk to elderly
Local news briefs

KENTUCKY HEADLINES
VIP guests moved to infield
Storm sewer fix nearly finished
Newport library relocating

EDUCATION HEADLINES
Young poet finding a voice
Sanctions could follow school tests
Principal defends student editorial
Parents' work enhances Sands Montessori campus

NEIGHBORS HEADLINES
Cards reach out to seniors
Youth awards recognize service
Liberty Twp. fall festival has new home

LIVES REMEMBERED
Traugott Wiesmann felt at home in his adopted city
Devotee of faith, education, Lola Mae Davis dies at age 89