County will eye flooding causes

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 25, 2000

County commissioners will organize a public meeting with the U.

Friday, February 25, 2000

County commissioners will organize a public meeting with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to address concerns that water release procedures at the Ohio River’s locks and dams might have led to increased county flooding in recent years.

Email newsletter signup

The river level between Gallipolis and Greenup, Ky., is controlled by dams.

And that river level controls the flow of creeks in Lawrence County, commissioner Paul Herrell said.

Herrell detailed his theory at Thursday’s meeting, saying that when the Gallipolis dam is opened, or the Greenup dam is closed, water levels increase along county shores.

Although Herrell has not spoken to Corps officials, he said he believes that water release procedure causes tributaries like Pine Creek, Storms Creek, Paddy Creek and others to back up, he said.

Rainfall seems to stay the same each year, but the amount of flooding increases, Herrell said.

"I’ve lived on Symmes Creek for 55 years and have never seen anything like it," he said. "Some places that have never been covered were covered this weekend."

Farmers have been used to minor flooding, always planning for at least two each year, Herrell said.

"It would come up gradually, they’d shut the roads off for a day and then the next day it would be fine," he said.

What’s happening now is massive backup of water and it doesn’t take an engineer to figure out that it’s tied to the locks and dams, he said.

"I’m not an engineer, but it looks like to me there could be some system developed to keep from flooding us," commissioner George Patterson said.

Commissioners voted to write letters to state representatives asking for assistance.

Commission president Bruce Trent suggested a meeting between Corps officials, commissioners, farmers and county residents.

The tentative date for that meeting is March 16.

Herrell said he has concerns about new Ohio Department of Transportation bridges in the county, especially one near his home in Aid, that blocks water movement through streams.

They were built too close to the stream bed, he said.

Also, floodplain and environmental regulations are too stringent, preventing farmers from cleaning out stream debris that restrict water flow

Corps officials in charge of dredging permits and Environmental Protection Agency officials will be invited to the March 16 meeting, commissioners said.

In other action Thursday, commissioners:

– Approved a $7,500 expenditure to cover half the cost of Ironton Municipal Court’s community service director’s position, which is responsible for work release and home confinement programs.

The agreement, which was approved last year, saves the county money by defraying costs of an overcrowded county jail, Herrell said.

Patterson voted no on the action, saying he wants a comparison of court activities between the county court’s one community service worker and the city court’s two workers.

"I want a better look at what I’m voting on," he said.

– Referred a complaint about a drainage tile on County Road 56 to floodplain management officials.

– Requested the county engineer assess damage on County Road 55 from Waller Hollow to the end and check ditches along County Road 64 and Township Road 199.

– Recognized county and village law enforcement agencies for work in a Chesapeake traffic stop that led to a drug bust.

– Referred a petition to pave Private Drive 15432 to Rome Township trustees.

– Signed the state building permit for the county board of elections renovation project.

– Approved a request by Southeast Ohio Emergency Medical Service that the agency will spend $8,945 for partial cost of a cardiac monitor at the planned Aid ambulance station.

– Approved a policy that states the county will not use federal, state or county aid in the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program to help homeowners who have outstanding floodplain violations.