MILTON — Santa Rosa commissioners will have the county’s engineering department take 30 days to assess flooding in Pace and suggest mitigation options.
Between June 6 and 7, nearly 12 inches of rain fell in Santa Rosa County, causing roughly 12 homes to flood in Pace. Tropical Storm Cindy dropped more water in the county June 20-21.
After the first storm, Commissioner Sam Parker said he and Santa Rosa County Engineer Roger Blaylock drove to various flooded neighborhoods in Pace to see the damage.
Blaylock said the storm was consistent with a 100-year flood.
“There was standing water in a lot of places,” he said. “All of the depressed areas were holding water. Water was flowing from depressed areas to natural and artificial drainage ways.”
The county’s approach, according to Blaylock, includes identifying the flooding problems and finding alternatives to solve them. However, the cost could become an issue, he said.
“People don’t realize the fix may be more expensive than the problem,” he said.
During the June 19 Commissioner Committee meeting, several Pace residents blamed new neighborhoods for worse flooding conditions.
“I wouldn’t want to say that’s not factual,” Blaylock said. “But, all new subdivision development and commercial site plan development must meet Santa Rosa County storm water requirements. So, they must meet the 100-year (requirement).”
Over the years, Santa Rosa County required new neighborhoods to meet tougher drainage standards. In 1996, the county required new neighborhoods to withstand a 100-year storm versus the 25-year storm requirement through the late ’80s and early ’90s, according to Blaylock.
The Public Works Department will also evaluate retention ponds and drainage mostly around Pace, collecting data on flooding and damage reports for engineering, according to Public Works Director Stephen Furman.
Public Works will also evaluate the retention ponds for erosion damage that occurred since Tropical Storm Cindy, as soon as the water drains enough, according to Furman.
“As waters recede, we will be cleaning material out of culverts and trash out of ditches so material won’t wash into ponds,” Furman said. “It’s maintenance at this point to the visible portions of the drainage system.”
However, the county won’t stop in Pace.
“Cindy showed vulnerabilities through other portions of the county,” Furman said. “We expect county engineering’s 30-day evaluation to be concentrated in Pace, but that doesn’t mean we’re not collecting data (in the) rest of county with the same type of analysis.”