Richmond City officials met with Sunset Avenue resident Jennifer Maupin on Tuesday to review an engineer’s blueprints for fixing her flooding problems.
Jonathan Nieman, a professional engineer and certified floodplain manager with CDP Engineers Inc., went through the design step by step, showing where potential flood waters were flowing in from the street and how he intended to stop the water from flowing down Maupin’s driveway.
His plan is to tear up the pervious concrete apron at the end of the driveway and replace it with standard concrete. In addition, a trench drain 24 feet long and 1 foot wide will be installed where the apron meets the street, and a smaller trench drain set farther back will catch any excess water.
“I believe I have a design that can account for all the flow up to a hundred-year event for that area,” Nieman said.
The 100-year storm event refers to an annual 1-percent chance of a large flood in any area and how the area will be affected by it. The Federal Emergency Management Agency uses the event as a way to map floodplains.
City Manager Jimmy Howard said the city wants to begin the work as soon as possible, originally planning to begin work by the end of the week. However, Maupin requested time to show the plans to a family member who is a civil engineer. To accommodate the request, Howard gave Maupin until 4:30 p.m. Tuesday.
“I just don’t trust them anymore,” Maupin said of the city officials. “I feel back at the same place I started. I feel defeated.”
She said the plans presented look like they’ll work, but that she was under the impression the original plan for the Sunset Avenue Storm Water Drainage Project would also work well. She said she was worried that the city would not exactly follow the plan to solve her problem.
According to Maupin, her flooding issues began when an “executive decision” was made to make her apron pervious concrete at too low of an angle to stop flowing water.
Howard told Maupin that he would do anything within his power to make sure the plan is followed to the letter. Additionally, the work must be approved by Nieman to ensure it has been built according to the blueprints.
But Maupin said she was not convinced.
“That was the problem we ran into the first time,” she said. “There was no engineer on the street. There was no one in the background or a plan that was followed like this. That’s why I’m in the mess that I am.”
Commissioner Laura King, who was present at the meeting, asked Nieman if he had a part in making the original decision to pour Maupin’s existing apron. He said he did not.
Maupin questioned the height of her apron once the drain is installed, saying she wanted her son to be able to drive his bicycle over the driveway safely. Nieman said the drains are pedestrian rated and will not be a danger for her son to ride over.
Another issue brought up by Maupin and King was keeping the drains cleaned. Maupin said she wants a weekly schedule for the street department to come clean the drains on Sunset so she and her neighbors can move their cars from the street.
“At least 95 percent of the people on Sunset park in front of their houses, so just sending a street sweeper won’t help,” she said.
Howard said there is no set schedule, but that the city responds to complaints about drains when they are made. Maupin said she has called and complained several times about the drain near her house, but when city workers do come, they brush debris off the drain and leave it nearby. Howard said he would look into workers not properly cleaning the drains, but he couldn’t set up a schedule for the workers to clean drains.
Concrete Materials Company Plant Manager Hank Henson and John McChord, director of engineering for the Kentucky Ready Mix Concrete Association, were both present at the meeting at Howard’s request. After reviewing the plans, both men said they believed the drain system would work.
Seth Littrell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 624-6623.