East Ridge Council Votes 4-1 To Go Forward With Flood Study

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The East Ridge City Council on Thursday night voted 4-1 to send a letter of intent to the Army Corps of Engineers asking that the Corps proceed with a study of the city's flooding problems.

Vice Mayor Jim Bethune voted no, while noting there were two previous studies and the city did not go forward either time because it did not have the money for its share of the fix.

Thomas Herbert of the Army Corps of Engineers project planning branch in Nashville said the maximum amount of any project to come out of the study would be in the range of $10 million. He noted that a $33 million figure in 1999 was for the construction of a levee.

He said that would not be one of the current options, but the fix would be such items as improving stream flow and improving water storage capacity.   

The estimated study cost would be between $600,000 and $900,000, he said. A portion would be federally funded and there would need to be a local match.

Councilman Larry Sewell said he wanted to proceed with the study. He said, "A lot of people out here are tired of getting flooded."

Councilman Denny Manning said he is included, noting that in the 2009 flood his house had four feet of water inside. There was eight feet of water in his garage.

Councilman Marc Gravitt said dredging the creeks would bring much relief, but Councilman Manning said that would never be allowed "because it would kill the fish and the snail darters."

Mr. Herbert said 80 percent of the water affecting the city's flooding problems originates outside the city limits, including in sections of Georgia.

He said there was a possibility of two Georgia counties participating in the flood study.

Mayor Brent Lambert said in the 2009 flood that East Ridge did not get that much rain, but there were downpours in North Georgia that caused the city to be swamped.

Mr. Herbert said about 450 East Ridge households are in the 100-year flood plain.


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