Tuesday, August 24, 2004

County to study storm water

Drainage a concern in Butler communities

By John Kiesewetter
Enquirer staff writer

TRENTON - Before more growth threatens the underground water supply or increases flooding, Butler County will study storm-water drainage in Trenton and St. Clair, Madison and Wayne townships.

"This area is very unique to Butler County. Whatever happens in terms of drainage, really affects the aquifer," says Greg Wilkens, Butler County engineer.

Protecting the aquifer is vital, Wilkens said, because the Southwest Regional Water District, Trenton and Miller Brewing Co. draw water from nearby well fields.

Flooding also has been an issue in the Trenton region because it lacks a natural network of creeks and streams to carry water from flat land to the Great Miami River, Wilkens said.

Unlike most cities, Trenton does not have an underground storm sewer system because of the city's porous land, says City Manager Patrick Titterington. Storm water soaks into the sand and gravel base, he said.

"There has always been concern about water traveling from (the hills) north of Trenton, through the city, and to the south of Trenton. There are areas that get flooded when it rains," Titterington said.

Wilkens told Butler County commissioners Monday of his plan to hire an engineering firm to study water quality and quantity from Howe Road, on a ridge north of Trenton, to the southern edge of the Miller plant south of town. The area encompasses all of Trenton and the Edgewood schools complex west of town at Ohio 73 and Busenbark Road.

The consultant will develop comprehensive policies commissioners can add to the subdivision regulations for the county's unincorporated areas, Wilkens said. The study will take at least seven months, he said.

Trenton has become a concern to the county because of its rapid growth. It is the second-fastest-growing city in Butler County (behind Monroe). Trenton's population increased 13.8 percent to 9,953, from 2000 to 2003, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Madison Township, to the north and south of Trenton, grew by 9.5 percent, to 8,551, during that period, the Census Bureau reported. St. Clair Township, southwest of Trenton, increased by 3 percent to 7,553.

Commissioner Michael A. Fox said that the Trenton region "is going to be a prime area for development" if Ohio 63 is ever extended west over the Great Miami River from Ohio 4, providing direct access to Interstate 75.

"We want to make sure as development happens that we don't do anything to negatively impact the aquifers," Wilkens said.

In Trenton, homebuilders already are required to install drainage swails and dry wells, underground catch basins through which water soaks into the ground, Titterington says. Developers also are prohibited from increasing the amount of storm-water runoff when building on property, he says.

Although Trenton won't be bound to adopt the recommendations, "we're not going to do anything contrary to what they come up with," Tittering said.


E-mail jkiesewetter@enquirer.com

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