The accumulation of sediment, increased development and decreased storage volume likely contributed to flooding in downtown Maysville last month, preliminary findings from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers show, city officials said Thursday.
City Manager Matt Wallingford told city commission that two civil engineers and a mechanical engineer along with an electrical engineer visited Maysville earlier this week at his invitation to access the possible cause or causes of the Feb. 22 event involving the Limestone Creek Pump Station during the flooding of the Ohio River. Heavy rains over a 48-hour period sent flood water over the Newtown Bridge on Second Street and into the nearby Rotary Club Park and Clubhouse, along with some businesses.
"By all accounts and all evidence we have reviewed, the pumps and associated equipment within the Limestone Creek Pump Station were operated by city staff in accordance with the Project Operation and Maintenance Manual," according to Kevin Burler, manager of the Levee Safety Program in the Corps of Engineers Huntington District.
Instead of failure of equipment, the issue instead was the result of several factors, according to Butler, including:
-- Over time, the sedimentation of the Limestone Creek ponding area which may have reduced available storage.
-- An increase in impervious area (such as concrete and blacktop) due to construction ... adjacent to the ponding area which might have contributed to an increase in runoff.
-- Property encroachments adjacent to the ponding area which may have resulted in a decrease in available storage volume.
The three pumps operating at Limestone Creek were originally installed in 1956, making them more than 60 years old, Wallingford pointed out at the time of the flooding. And despite the routine, bi-annual maintenance performed on the pumps, they were not designed to carry the amount of water that drains into the downtown area, he said.
Butler said in his email to Wallingford that the USACE will continue to evaluate the issue and inform the city of his findings as they become available.
Also Thursday, commissioners decided to reject a suggestion from Wallingford and Public Works Director Mike Barbee and allow "Children and Pets at Play" signs to be reinstalled in the Ashwood Subdivision.
Sarah Winter, a resident of the subdivision, said the signs were installed last summer with the city's help when residents pooled funds to purchase the signs in an attempt to slow down speeders.
"And they were effective," Winter said.
But this week, city crews came along and pulled up the signs, she said. Winter asked commission for an explanation and for permission to reinstall the signs.
Wallingford said the signs were removed after Barbee attended a seminar which provided information on state and federal guidelines and standards on signage. He said other signs in the city are also not in compliance, including some stop signs and street signs. He said the signs in the subdivision, in particular, put the city at risk of a lawsuit and that is why they were removed.
"I advise commission that they not be put on city property or city right of way," Wallingford said.
Commissioner Kelly Ashley said there is a difference between compliance and conformity and suggested keeping the signs is more a matter of common sense.
"I think we can all agree that government gets it wrong sometimes," Commissioner Victor McKay said.
Ashley introduced a motion to allow the signs to be put back. The vote on the issue was unanimous.
In other business, commissioners:
-- Accepted retirements and resignations from the Utility and Public Works departments.
-- Approved a resolution supporting the Green Dot Program.
-- Approved a resolution recognizing April 3, as National Service Day.
-- Agreed to authorize trust participation for the Joint Planning Commission and Worker's Compensation.
-- Proclaimed Building Safety Month in Maysville.
-- Agreed to support medical cannabis bills in the Kentucky Legislature. Michell Crawford, who along with her husband Eric Crawford, is a major advocate for the legalization of medical cannabis. Michelle Crawford was on hand to thank the city for its support in the fight for legalization.
-- Approved a resolution authorizing a crumb rubber grant.
-- Gave approval to a resolution making Maysville a Kentucky Veterans Hall of Fame City.
-- Approved an agreement with the Bank of Maysville for the Cemetery Perpetual Care Fund.
-- Approved the second reading of an amendment to the street sweeper schedule.
-- Agreed to set a special meeting for Wednesday, March 28 at noon to discuss the budget for 2019.