Pelham Council approves hydraulic modeling and drainage study

Published 9:46 am Thursday, January 6, 2022

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By MICHELLE LOVE | Staff Writer

PELHAM – At the Dec. 20 meeting, the Pelham City Council approved a resolution for consideration to approve a hydraulic modeling and drainage study for all creek basins in the city.

The resolution was proposed in response to the Oct. 6 flood that caused severe damage throughout the Shelby County area, including throughout the city of Pelham. Pelham’s Director of Planning and Engineering Andre Bittas explained the study is a preemptive way to analyze what can be done to prevent any future flood damage.

In the field of water resources engineering, hydrologic and hydraulic modeling is a tool commonly used to evaluate the benefits of proposed improvements. A combined hydrologic/hydraulic model allows engineers and city planners to evaluate the impacts of various improvement scenarios and the benefits those scenarios would accomplish.

The study is expected to take one year to complete, will cost approximately $415,000 and it would be funded completely by the city. Kimley Horn, a civil engineering company, has been chosen to do this work, and it will survey all of the creek basins to identify areas that need attention and improvements.

“The study will identify specific projects and actions to achieve the defined objectives and goals of the study,” Bittas said. “The study will also prioritize the recommended projects and actions and categorize it into short, medium and long range plan.  These recommendations will be presented to the mayor and the City Council for consideration.  Implementation of a project or projects will be based on funding (local and/or federal) availability.”

Additional funding would be necessary to complete those projects once identified. Bittas said the funding would be project specific, and the city of Pelham will pursue local and federal funding to implement these projects.  The study will also identify State and federal grants and programs that are applicable for these type of projects.

“This is definitely a touching issue for so many people and residents that were affected,” said Council President Maurice Mercer at the Dec. 20 meeting. “As the leaders dutifully elected to provide answers and offer solutions –  you know, by trade, I’m in the business world and not the engineering world. I have to look to data, to someone else to give us some guidance.”

Mercer continued that he has confidence in all teams involved in the project to execute the plan efficiently and with the best interest of the city at heart.

“The cost is significant, but we have to do something now,” he said. “The time has come to make a decision to see if there is something we can do.”

Councilmember Mildred Lanier echoed Mercer’s feelings towards the project, citing it will help city officials better assess flooding and drainage issues down the line.

“We need to do something, and we do trust our professionals,” she said. “Once that study is looked at, then we can go in and set priority goals based on what is found.”

The resolution passed with a vote of three against two.