Archived Story

Petition seeks to have ditch dredged

Published 9:53am Monday, September 17, 2012

Seeking to have some relief during heavy rains, a group of Woodlawn Drive/Carl Drive area residents recently handed the Ironton City Council a petition asking to have the ditch along Carl Drive dredged.

“We need to get something done. It’s a real problem,” Woodlawn Drive resident Everett Reeves told the council Thursday. Reeves was at city council a few weeks ago and first addressed the issue.

The problem, residents contend, is that the ditch along Carl Drive is not really a ditch at all anymore. In some places there are culverts that are clogged and in other places the ditch is so full of weeds, dirt and debris that it can’t carry the water when it rains. The rainwater then runs onto the residents’ properties, often in such force that yards get soggy and basements and garages get wet and the hillsides slip.

“This is affecting how many people?” Councilwoman Beth Rist asked.

“Thirty (homes),” Carolyn Reeves replied.

“Did you think about hiring a private contractor to do the job?” Councilman Kevin Waldo asked. Carolyn Reeves replied they had discussed this but were advised they couldn’t because the ditch is primarily on city-owned land.

Mayor Rich Blankenship said the problem could be fixed fairly easily if he had the manpower and the money. Right now with the city’s financial problems and six public works employees laid off, Blankenship said he has neither.

“If I had the money and the manpower, I have 100 projects wanting to be number one,” Blankenship said. “I’ve got one person in the street department right now.”

Councilman Phil Heald asked if workers could be transferred from the water department, since many of them have experience with the same equipment needed to perform the work.

Council President Mike Lutz asked Mayor Blankenship if he would arrange a meeting with the residents to figure out “creative options” to solve the problem.

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  • lazydog

    The county auditor website indicates the property boundaries run down the center of the road. The city doesn’t own any property on Carl drive, it just has a right of way.

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  • Poor Richard

    First, I would determine if the property is actually city property or if the resident’s property boundaries extent into the ditch, if so, residents would be paying property taxes on the land. Look at the County Auditors website, it shows boundary lines. If the property owners own it – they need to assist in fixing it. If on city property, maybe the city can give residents a temporary easement to fix the ditch.

    Second, the culverts had to get in the ditch somehow – who put them there? Do the property owners ‘own’ the culverts? Are they undersized? Until a solution is underway, can the residents take their shovels and clean out the inlet and outlets of the culverts – would it help as a temporary fix? Where does the water end up? River?

    If the city has an excavator/backhoe, the city could rent a bucket specifically made for ditch cleaning, it would not cost much. The bucket is made to give a U shape to the ditch rather than a V shape. The excavated material would have to be hauled away. Because this appears to be on a downward slope, the ditch would need some kind of protection until grass is established. Erosion control netting is usually put down, it comes in rolls, and is not that expensive. The netting usually has seeds already built in and metal clips that are pounded into the ground to hold it. It will protect from further erosion.
    Wire screens can be placed over the culvert inlets and outlets but debris would have to be removed periodically (water cannot make it thru an undersized culvert when alot of water is moving). It wouldn’t hurt either to place larger limestone a few feet out from each culvert inlet and outlet. The city may want to rethink the size of the culvert’s but this will add more money to the ditch – maybe you can work with what you have. The idea is to prevent the stormwater from jumping the ditch and ending up in residents yards, so without seeing it, I’m not sure but you may need to install something to slow the water down, at least until vegetation is re-established and maybe as a temporary solution. It may be something as simple as bales of straw placed in the ditch every so many feet and placed in a V-shape with rebar to hold the straw bales (more than two bales) in place. The straw would also catch any sediment washing downslope. This is not brain surgery, it is commonsense.

    Again, the steepness of the slope is the factor, how much water, and how fast will it be traveling? Any blockage of water will send it out of the ditch in another direction. I’ve seen limestone ditches and actually have one close to where I live and I’ve also seen surface water jump the ditch because it cannot move thru the limestone fast enough.

    THE SMARTEST THING I’VE EVER DONE WHEN WORKING DITCHES IS GO OUT ON A DOWNPOUR AND ACTUALLY OBSERVE WHERE THE PROBLEMS ARE – YOU MAY FIND YOU DON’T NEED TO DO MUCH WORK AFTERALL – THE SIMPLEST SOLUTION IS THE BEST SOLUTION.

    What I’ve seen the county engineer’s office do in the past in ditchlines along county roads on downward slopes is deepen the ditches, remove all vegetation, and when the massive amounts of stormwater begins to flood the ditch that has been stripped of all vegetation, the ditch is further eroded and deepened and the hillside above the ditch starts to move or it undercuts the roadway. This you don’t want.

    If nothing else, you now have a ‘Scope of Work’ to present to a contractor for an estimate.

    Further, wrong use of the word ‘dredge’. Dredging is done in waterways (rivers, streams, etc) or harbours to remove earth for deepening or widening a waterway. If in fact, the ‘ditch’ described in this article is really a stream or tributary, then first you will need a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Huntington, WV prior to ‘dredging’. And if it is a stream or trib, there probably should not be any culverts or obstacles in the waterway.

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  • Country

    The City is responsible. If they do not have the man power the should contract the work out like they have on other projects. It is just a ditch. Get the Judge to get some of the workers up there with shovels and take care of it.

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  • bo

    I have family that lives in this area and this is not a new problem. The city has been aware of this ditch problem well over 4 years. That is way before any of the layoffs occurred. So what is the excuse for not getting it done before now?

    And the layoff of 6 men stops all work being done? Sounds like poor management too me.

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