Reinventing Malletts Creek
More realistic solutions may emerge from the county's new Upper Mallets Creek Improvements study. "It's all about how much water fits into the pipes," says Evan Pratt, who was elected to succeed Bobrin as water resources commissioner last November. "And that depends on how much fits into the ground. My job is to get the storm water off the surface, but we can't let any more water out of the area" during a storm.
The first step, Pratt says, is to hold public meetings and knock on doors in the area: "The people who live there know more about their neighborhood than I do," he says. Topographical maps will also be redone, because aerial imagery is "much more accurate now, with millions of points of information on every square foot. And the city is surveying every storm water sewer" with video cameras.
One solution, Pratt says, might be to "find a place to store the water. That could mean adding more catch basins and building more retention ponds. It could also mean developing more green infrastructure like rain gardens and cisterns so storm water soaks into the ground at the source. Or it could mean repaving streets to enhance flow, like the city did on Easy Street off Packard.
"By this summer, we'll have ideas of what we want to study seriously," continues Pratt, "and in a year, we'll have a proposal with numbers and dollars for three or more alternatives we'll have reason to believe will lead to a viable solution."