After two years of study, the storm water task force of University City presented a report to the city council.
The task force was authorized in mid-2017 and began its two year study in early 2018. Task force members presented their findings during a joint meeting on Jan. 27.
University City has dealt with flooding for years, much of it due to issues with the river Des Peres. The city bought out a number of homes following 2008 flooding, largely on Wilson Avenue. Several deaths occurred as a result of the flooding.
Data was collected through resident surveys. The task force also examined Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) data. Among the issues reported by respondents were standing water and flooding of yards and homes that resulted in yard erosion. There were also reported cases of street flooding and creek erosion.
Some problems were attributed to a backup of debris in creeks and the River Des Peres. Determining whether the city or MSD is responsible for the clean up can be difficult, according to one respondent.
It was also discussed that bridges along the river and creeks often become choke points for debris, leading to flooding.
The council presented several ideas for addressing flood issues, including engaging an engineering consultant or assigning a full-time city staff member to consolidate complaints, prioritize projects, perform additional buy-outs as needed, and determine whether to involve the Corps of Engineers.
Members of the task force stated that establishing a flash flood early warning system is feasible. Members said using data from MSD water gauges and obtaining the proper analytical software could run between $10,000 and $20,000, resulting in a system to notify people to evacuate an area before first responder rescue becomes necessary.
Should a formal proposal for its implementation be made, future steps would involve development of design and installation plans. The city manager would also have to make a recommendation to the city council for budget approval.