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New Baltimore, Mich., Finally Getting Help With Flooding

Residents of New Baltimore, Mich., have long complained of flooding in their neighborhoods after major storms. The City Council has approved a proposal to complete a topographic survey of the area to improve the drainage plan.

flooded road
From the atmospheric rivers in Southern California this year and last year that caused devastating damage to the massive storm that swept through southern states in January and caused North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper to declare a state of emergency, extreme weather is becoming a new normal in many areas.

Residents in New Baltimore, Mich., are not immune, having long complained about flooding in their neighborhoods. But they are finally getting some help.

Last summer, after extreme storm events that flooded streets and damaged homes, they’d had enough. The City Council approved this month a proposal from Project Control Engineering (PCE) to complete a topographic survey of the area to improve the drainage plan.

The survey will seek to define drainage patterns and identify restrictions and include grade elevations in backyard ditches, drainage swales and culverts.

“During the extreme storm events of last summer, water entered homes, damaged property and flooded streets,” PCE President John Monte wrote in the proposal. “We have had several meetings to discuss the issues and what could be done to help alleviate the risk of flooding.”

The survey will cost $7,650 and address some of the following issues:
  • Floodwaters that enter from wetland conservation area
  • Clogged culverts
  • Poor drainage
  • Road ditches that need regrading and culverts replaced
  • Cleaning and improvement of drainage outlets

New Baltimore Mayor Tom Semaan tried to address concerns from the citizens after a recent meeting.

“We are doing everything humanly possible to look into a solution to a problem that goes back to the development of that street,” he said of a particularly flood-prone area in the Willow Creek housing development, according to a report in the Voice News.

“And it is of no error of anybody sitting here that there is a flooding issue, but we certainly will do everything in our power, humanly possible, to come up with a solution that can help you avert any future disasters.”

In Chesterfield Township, a New Baltimore neighbor, efforts are underway to mitigate flooding by restoring a handful of retention ponds that store water for local subdivisions. The local board of trustees voted to award $27,500 for the project, which will clean out the ponds and return one of the ponds to its original condition.

That would entail removing trees and debris, excavating it back to its original side slopes and capacity and resodding it. “What’s happened over time is the water hits the subdivision, it goes into basins and is piped to the pond,” said public services Director Mitch O’Conner in the Voice News report. “Sometimes you lose soil that’s piped into the pond, so the pond itself probably isn’t at its original design capacity.”