Port Deposit to vote on flooding mitigation study funding
— Town officials will vote next month on the expenditure of $35,000 to perform a geotechnical assessment that would determine how best to stop flooding.
proposal was discussed at the Tuesday night work session.
Vicky Rinkerman, town administrator, said she was unsuccessful in finding grant money for the project. Instead, she said the funding would have to come from the town.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers suggested the assessment to determine whether flood gates or slurry walls would be the best option to hold back the Susquehanna River at railroad underpasses at Nutter’s Alley and Vannort Drive.
”And the mud,” Councilman John Leeds said. “If it can keep the mud from coming through.”
With a history of flooding events, Port Deposit residents know where the water invades and when. Once more than 15 crest gates are opened on the Conowingo Dam, the river starts creeping in, first on Route 222 north of town near the VFW post. Then, Marina Park begins to dis-
PORT DEPOSIT The
In the last five years alone, Port Deposit residents have witnessed flooding and threats of flooding. While most town residents know the drill, this pickup truck was not moved to higher ground from the town lot across from Jefferson Hall Apartments.
appear. Folks living on the river side of Main Street know to start moving property to higher levels. At 26 gates, emergency operations are established, and voluntary evacuations begin. Water begins to enter town through the railroad underpasses.
Rinkerman said officials from Norfolk Southern Railroad were hesitant to allow the Corps to study their tracks and allow construction of the flood mitigation system.
”The railroad is worried about washout,” Mayor Wayne Tome said. “The water pressure is being re-
leased by flowing through the town.”
Norfolk Southern fears if the gates hold back the water, the tracks could be compromised.
However, Tome said the roadbed has been there so long, in spite of numerous flood events since the construction of the dam more than 80 years ago. The assessment could determine if the roadbeds would hold up and also protect Port Deposit.
”So much water and debris comes through there,” the mayor said. “The gates would save the town from inundation.”
Results of the assessment would also be used by the town as proof of need for the next step, which is grant money to pay for either flood gates or slurry walls.
”We need to do the study, period,” Rinkerman said. “You’re addressing an issue that happens again and again in town.”
There was discussion among the council members on whether the expense itself was needed.
”Are we risking $35,000 to see if the track ... can be certified?” Councilman Bob Kuhs asked.
Councilwoman Kate Rodg- ers asked about the cost of the two options. Rinkerman replied that the slurry walls would be exponentially more expensive than the flood gates.
”We are not at a risk of losing $35,000,” Rinkerman said. “It’s what we need to move forward to fix this.”
In the last five years alone, Port Deposit residents have witnessed flooding and threats of flooding. Marina Park off South Main Street is one of the first places to go under when the Susquehanna River leaves her banks.