Flooding persists in Foothills' Yuma East
The Yuma County Flood Control District’s 2012 assessment report is ready.
The report, prepared by district staff, assesses flooding and drainage problems and needs in the county.
During 2012, the following needs were identified:
* County 12th Street Basins: Additional basins along County 12th Street to retain stormwater for the southern Foothills area.
* North and South Frontage Roads: Additional stormwater conveyance and storage along North and South Frontage Roads including expanding the KFC basin.
* Yuma Valley Drains: Additional storm drains to direct stormwater into the Valley Drain System.
* Gadsden Outfall: To discharge stormwater from Gadsden to the Bypass Drain or the Colorado River.
* Boundary Pump Station Upgrades: The boundary pump station would require upgrades to accommodate additional flows directed to the Valley Drains.
* Dateland Retention Basin: Stormwater from the area south of Interstate 8 is the source for surface flows through Dateland. If the stormwater was intercepted along the highway, the flooding could be reduced.
* Bonnie Stormdrain System: Recommended construction of the Bonnie Stormdrain System to increase the inflows to Far West Basin.
The report also documents project progress, maintenance efforts, and regulatory changes. The recommended projects are those that address the major flooding and drainage problems throughout the county and provide for major storm water outfall and disposal facilities. The estimated cost to remedy all of the known needs is $54.5 million.
The Board of Supervisors will vote to accept the report at their meeting today Tuesday 1/22as part of the consent agenda.
For the detailed report, download the Jan. 22 meeting materials at www.yumacountyaz.gov/bos.
When it rains over Daun Troncin's house, it pours — outside, and almost inside.
In September, the same monsoon storm that knocked out power for thousands sent water surging under the pit-set, doublewide manufactured home that Troncin has lived in for 28 years in the Foothills' Yuma East subdivision, shifting her sewer pipes off-kilter, saturating the connection point between the two halves of her home, and flirting with her thresholds.
“It missed it by about this much,” said Troncin, holding her fingers about an inch apart.
Troncin is one of several Yuma East residents who say they have had persistent and worsening issues with flooding that have battered their homes, progressing over the years from inconvenience to potential crisis when it rains. Because the roads running through the neighborhood are maintained by Yuma County — and roadwork, some say, builds up the surface and enhances a damming effect, making the problem worse — some of these harder-hit residents think the county should address the issue.
But the county, which commissioned a study of the area's flooding in 2009, puts the ball back in the residents' court, saying the residents need to better organize and identify a clear solution that staffers can at least consider.
When Yuma East was built in the 1980s, each lot was intended to retain its own water. But over the years, homeowners started adding gates, walls, pavers and other fixtures that divert the water off their property. There are no retention basins in the area.
Water will still flow downhill, though, and that's where Troncin is at a geographic disadvantage: She lives at 38th Lane and Mesa Drive, a low point in the subdivision.
She's tried to mitigate the inevitable behavior of water, digging trenches in her yard two feet deep by three feet wide and landscaping around them to at least be aesthetically pleasing.
Nancy Huston has lived across the street from Troncin, and watched her property take the brunt of flooding, for seven years.
“It just breaks my heart,” she said.
The Yuma East flooding issue last came before the Board of Supervisors in March 2011. The supervisors could have agreed at that time to authorize the design of a solution, which was to remove landscaping and depress the sides of the road and add a storm drain within Mesa Drive.
Instead, they didn't vote in any way on the recommended solution, directing staff to continue communications with the homeowner's association.
County Administrator Robert Pickels said the county's position hasn't changed.
“We never heard back from the residents as to what their preferred solution was,” he said.
Residents who spoke to the supervisors two years ago were split on the issue: Some wanted county intervention. Others didn't. With approximately 660 lots in the subdivision and only about 25 getting really smacked with flooding, not everybody is amenable to forming an improvement district — and thus, willingly taxing themselves more — to fix a problem for a relative few.
Pickels said the county doesn't want to step into such a hyperlocal issue and force something that residents may not want. But he does think staff with the flood control district would at least listen to suggestions from Yuma East residents and see if they're compatible with the experts' ideas. (For her part, Troncin suggests draining Mesa and Tucson drives into the low spot that is the parking lot of the old Catholic church.)
If everybody can reach a viable compromise, the county could then be willing to attach money to the project. Pickels said that around the time of the study, the county identified some money for a fix, but it wasn't fully dedicated. When the project was put on hold, the money was absorbed back into the general fund balance.
Huston said repairs to the domed streets' blacktop is making things worse for their corner. “The roads are getting higher and higher, causing more water to displace,” she said. (Pickels disputes that angle, saying the water would flow how it does regardless.)
The neighbors expect flooding to continue, concerning them for the future of their homes.
“We're hopeful the county will help us,” Huston said.
Hillary Davis can be reached at email@example.com or 539-6857. Find her on Facebook at Facebook.com/YSHillaryDavis or on Twitter at @YSHillaryDavis.