October 16, 1997

Stormwater Proposals To Be Unveiled

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Fixing the stormwater problems in southeast Spokane could cost $18 million or more.

A consultant who spent months studying drainage on Moran Prairie, Glenrose Prairie and Browne Mountain will unveil recommendations at a public meeting tonight.

Residents living in the watershed are invited to the 7 p.m. meeting in the cafeteria at Chase Middle School.

The Boise consultant will outline three recommendations for construction of a stormwater system on Glenrose and Moran prairies.

A series of changes to county law is proposed to prevent repeated flooding that plagued the area last winter.

The cost of the middle-priced proposal was estimated at $18 million to $20 million. It would include six settling basins and four miles of stormwater pipe.

Each of the alternatives relies on preserving some of the natural drainage ways to handle stormwater.

The differences involve adding features such as settling ponds, pipes and other construction features to dispose of the water.

One of the options calls for the county to preserve open spaces along the drainage ways to collect and slow the flow of water. That would allow it to evaporate and seep into the ground.

Stormwater pipes probably would be needed along 57th Avenue and on Browne Mountain, along with pipe on parts of Crestline Street, Regal Street, 37th Avenue and Freya Street, among other locations.

Installing just four miles of pipe could cost as much as $12 million.

Brenda Sims, manager of the county’s stormwater utility, said a big question facing the county is how much water the system should be designed to handle.

Many homes are plagued with groundwater seeping into basements, but collecting and disposing of the water would add to the cost of the stormwater system.

Residents at the meeting will hear a briefing on the proposals and then get a chance to visit table displays and make comments on the alternatives.

The meeting will also give Central Park area residents a chance to comment on two alternatives for handling stormwater in their area.

The consultant is proposing several new county laws to regulate future development. They include:

Establishing a 200-foot wide corridor on primary drainage ways and requiring developers to either preserve the corridor or come up with a piping system to handle storm runoff. The county could also purchase easements to preserve the corridors.

Placing new rules on developments where groundwater lies close to the surface. The rules would include more extensive studies by developers.

Enacting an erosion-control law to prevent dirt and rock from washing into a stormwater system. Also, developers on hillsides would have to do better planning for runoff from their tracts.

Mapping secondary drainage ways to protect them from development.

The county has not decided how to pay for a stormwater system.

Sims said county staffers will recommend spreading the costs throughout the entire county stormwater utility service area, which includes many of the developing areas surrounding the city of Spokane.

Design and construction of projects would continue for years with property owners throughout the service area contributing to the costs.

One proposal would add a $50 annual charge per parcel to the stormwater fees currently being paid by property owners.

Homeowners in the service area currently pay a $10 annual charge, but businesses pay larger fees based on the amount of land they own.

, DataTimes


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