Cape Gazette
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Council to request bids for Read Avenue project

Master plan would reduce Dewey stormwater discharge
By Kara Nuzback | Jul 01, 2013
Photo by: Kara Nuzback Delaware Department of Transportation officials recently cleared blocked storm drains on Read Avenue in Dewey Beach, but residents say the road still floods.

Dewey Beach — Dewey Beach officials say they will accept bids on a plan to reduce flooding on Read Avenue.

At its June 14 meeting, town council also decided engineers could pair with construction companies to propose an alternate plan with a cost estimate for council to consider.

The plan recommended by the Dewey Beach Infrastructure Committee was developed by Cotten Engineering proprietor Mike Cotten, who led the project to install a pump station to reduce flooding on Bayard Avenue.

Cotten’s $1 million project on Bayard Avenue successfully cut down on flooding in the area.  Now Read Avenue is the new low-point in Dewey Beach, and Cotten is proposing a miniature version of the Bayard Avenue pump station.

If the proposal were adopted, it would include removing the existing duckbill check valves on stormwater pipes and replacing them with flapper-style check valves.  Cotten says during high tide, check valves would block the incoming tide from entering the stormwater pipes, and the pumping system would prevent flooding on the Read Avenue for most storms.

Committee Chairman Rick Judge said Delaware Department of Transportation officials recently cleared blockage from the town storm drains, but Read Avenue residents are still seeing floods.  “Which means the bay is still invading through the storm drains,” he said.

At its May meeting, town council asked Judge to take Cotten’s Read Avenue plan to Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control officials to be vetted.

On June 14, Judge said DNREC and Sussex Conservation District are in favor of the plan.  “There are no permits necessary from DNREC,” he said.

Judge said the Read Avenue plan would serve as a building block for a master plan to stop stormwater discharge into the bay. The master plan, also developed by Cotten Engineering, was presented to the Dewey Beach Infrastructure Committee June 7.

Cotten Engineering officials said the proposed Storm Water Master Plan for Nutrient Reduction can be done in phases, and a unique plan was developed for each bayside street in town.

The plan was funded by a grant from DNREC; it offers a roadmap to reducing the amount of pollution draining into Rehoboth Bay.

The cost to fix drainage on each bayside street ranges from about $200,000 to $1 million.  If the town puts the plan in effect, it would include installing permeable pavement, which allows stormwater to seep through while filtering pollutants from the water.

Rain gardens would be installed throughout town, and regular street sweeping would be essential to maintenance, Cotten officials said.

Judge said the plan addresses pollution, but it would also help keep bay water from coming into storm drains, which would in turn reduce bayside flooding throughout town.  “We’re killing two birds with one stone,” he said.

To view the complete Storm Water Master Plan, go to townofdeweybeach.com.

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