Town council discusses storm drainage issues



The street department in Brownstown continues to tackle storm sewer drainage issues affecting several areas in the county seat.

During Monday’s town council meeting at the town hall, Street Superintendent Phil Owens discussed several of those issues, including one affecting about six homeowners on the west side of South Ewing Street. The problems occur north of Orchard Lane and have been going for years, he said.

Owens said efforts to address the issue in the past, including increasing the height of a curb on Orchard Lane to divert water in a storm sewer, have had limited success.

He said the problem may be related to a clay stormwater pipe that runs through the back yard of the home of Alvin and Cindy Killey on the northwest corner of Orchard Lane and Ewing Street.

Some of the stormwater, however, could be coming from the east side of Ewing Street or from springs in the area, Owens said.

He said he plans to start his investigation by opening up the area around the sinkhole in the Killeys’ back yard to determine where the water entering it goes and if the pipe is attached to anything.

Stormwater leaving the Killeys’ back yard winds up backing up behind a stormwater drain in the back yard of a home owned by Terry and Debbie Roll, he said.

Town workers recently did some work to try to get the water to drain from the Rolls’ yard, Owens said.

That work helped drain the surface water some but did nothing to get rid of the groundwater, leaving a portion of Rolls’ back yard wet all of the time, he said.

After consulting with a contractor, Owens believes the best solution would be to dig down to the top of the existing concrete storm sewer, installed in 1999 at a cost of $341,187.25 by Mitchell and Stark of Medora, and install a perforated pipe on top of it. The ditch would be filled with stone.

That perforated pipe would then be attached to the existing catch basin near the Rolls’ property, he said.

The project also would involve doing the same thing from that catch basin to the next catch basin further to the north, which is in the area of the back yard of the home of Leroy and Velma Crees, Owens said.

The Creeses and several others along the west side of Ewing Street often have water in their basements.

Owens said with the perforated pipe and stone installed, the Rolls would be able to mow their yard, which they can’t right now.

The town will have to hire a contractor to do the project.

“I have one quote for the project,” Owens said. “It’s not that bad.”

Owens said he also plans to address stormwater drainage issues in the 300 block of South Water Street and Bridge and Main streets.

He said the town needs to install a new catch basin along with 25 feet of plastic pipe and 20 feet of curb to address the South Water Street issues and a new catch basin and a new pipe at Bridge and Main streets. A leak in a storm sewer or basin on Bridge Street is causing the street to drop.

In other matters, the council:

Agreed to start the process of vacating an alley behind the Brownstown Volunteer Fire Department and the former town hall building. The request comes from the fire department, and the council decided to ask the town attorney Travis Thompson to draw up an ordinance vacating the alley.

Received Police Chief Tom Hanner’s monthly report for June that showed officers investigated 238 cases, seven property damage wrecks and three personal injury wrecks; wrote two citations; made 12 arrests; and conducted 56 security checks.

Voted to keep the senior citizens center closed through Labor Day weekend because of coronavirus concerns.

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