Trumann looks to purchase land, construct retention pond

By Josh Harvison - bio | email

TRUMANN, AR (KAIT) - The city of Trumann Monday expressed interest in acquiring properties near Mulberry Street to alleviate flood problems. Mayor Shelia Walters told Region 8 News she'd like to purchase additional property to construct a retention pond, which would hold excess storm water and slowly release it into the drainage system.

"We have three or four areas in town that need attention, some worse than others. We're looking at potentially acquiring extra property that we might use as a reservoir to take care of certain sections of town," said Walters.

Walters attended a public assistance meeting held by FEMA and the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management. Officials from Poinsett, Greene, Fulton and St. Francis Counties were also present.

The meeting was held to give information to government officials about how to obtain money spent during severe storms that rolled through Arkansas from April 27 - May 23. 37 Counties in Arkansas were declared for public assistance by the President. In late April, the city of Trumann received more than 6 inches of rain in a matter of hours.

"We have a game plan now that we will hope will alleviate some of the flooding. It will not immediately take care of the problem, but if we can keep it from getting into a home and off their yards, that'd be a good start," said Walters.

Walters was told by FEMA that the acquisition of property to prevent future damages would not be covered by FEMA; however, the acquisition could be under the Arkansas Department of Emergency Managements 404 program.

"The biggest problem is having a place to put the excess water. We just don't have any place to store it right now, and once the drainage ditches get full, it's just here," said Scotty Jones, Trumann Water & Sewer.

Jones said the city is reviewing the plan to purchase property and build a retention pond. Jones said the drainage ditch that runs parallel to Pine Street, just off Mulberry, can only hold so much water. He said the water backs up when other water systems are full.

"Once the drainage ditches get full, there's just no place for the water to go," said Jones.

Jones told Region 8 News the potential project would cost the city $50,000 plus the cost of property. Right now, the city doesn't know how much it can or may spend on land acquisitions.

"If that's possible and she acquires the land, we've got figures on the pump, the pipe, what it's going to take to get that water off Mulberry and off that part of town," said Jones.

In early May, Region 8 News first reported the city possibly using two large lagoons located at the old sewage plant south of town. The plant is more than a mile from Mulberry. Jones said it's more feasible to lay a few hundred feet of pipe. Laying pipes from Mulberry to the sewage plant could cost more than $30,000.

"When we do get the pond, once we're able to pump into the pond, once the drainage ditches go down, we'll be able to discharge that water and pretty well keep that pond empty," said Jones.

According to Jones, the flooding problem along Mulberry is the top concern for the city. Other areas of town also flood, but rarely does the water get into homes.

"We're going to try to start with Mulberry because that's the worst area. That's where it gets into the houses first," said Jones. "We're looking at late summer before the bad weather. Before it gets cold in the winter time. That way we'd be ready for the next spring's heavy rains."

Rachel Poulson has been a flood victim several times. She said she likes the plan to build a retention pond, but the city needs to keep the current drainage system clean.

Poulson said she's tired of seeing trash and tall vegetation in the ditch. She said that slows down the flow of water during drainage.

"I think it would work, at least it would get the water out of the road and hopefully down the ditches," said Poulson. "I'm hoping that it will take care of the situation and I would like to see it done before it happens again."

©2009 KAIT

 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.