Bryant takes unique approach to drainage projects
With rainfall amounts this year well above average, stormwater and drainage issues are being discussed across the county. Bryant officials say they are always working to make improvements.
“We’re thinking about it all the time,” said Public Works Director Mark Grimmett.
In 2017, Bryant had approximately 60 homes flood after a heavy storm, Grimmett said. Since the completion of several improvement projects, he is aware of only about six homes that had had flooding this year, he added.
Grimmett said the stormwater projects the city has completed are “substantial.”
For upcoming projects, city officials are taking a unique approach. City officials are working with engineers to design large scale improvement projects, but since larger projects can be more expensive, the city is splitting projects, including phases and finding cheaper solutions to help residents quicker.
With a “micro approach,” the city has looked at ways to help specific homes that are flooding.
“We are zeroing in on those homes. That’s helped,” he said.
To fund these improvements, the city collects stormwater fees which are currently set at $3 for residential customers and $4 for commercial customers.
“Those stormwater fees we’re collecting, we’re not sitting on them. We’re using them and we’re making some progess,” Grimmett said.
City officials have discussed reviewing the stormwater fees and have even proposed a change to how the rate is set for commercial customers.
“Rates for each property will be different based on impervious square feet,” Grimmett said. “We’ve talked about it for a couple years now. We’re excited we’re getting some movement on it.”
Changes have not yet been presented to, or approved, by the Bryant City Council.
As well as the improvement projects, Grimmett and other staff work to ensure developers build projects following stormwater specifications not to cause further flooding.
Grimmett and the city’s construction management team take part in the city’s Development Review Committee and visit job sites every day.
One problem the city will never be able to solve is the unpredictability of flooding.
“Every rainfall situation is different,” Grimmett said.
A list of completed stormwater projects, as well as planed projects, is available on the city’s website.