MUSCLE SHOALS — A professional hydrological study of the southeast portion of the city would help identify areas that might cause future stormwater runoff issues, and determine what facilities might be needed to prevent those issues from occurring.
Mayor David Bradford said the southeast part of the city is where future development is likely to take place, and that development will tax the city's existing retention ponds and stormwater runoff system.
The study would include the area south of Sixth Street along the Wilson Dam Road corridor.
The city wants to use grant money provided by the Appalachian Regional Commission to pay for the study. Bradford estimated it will cost $100,000 to conduct the study, and the ARC money would require a 50 percent match.
Bradford said he met with ARC officials during a trip to Washington, D.C. with Northwest Alabama Council of Local Governments Executive Director Keith Jones.
City Engineer Brad Williams said city officials have met with a Nashville, Tennessee, engineering firm that could conduct the far-reaching study. Bradford said he, Williams and City Clerk Ricky Williams met with officials of Wood Environmental and Infrastructure Solutions after the February flood.
"They do most of the flood mapping up here," Williams said. "They gave us a scope of work for what that study would require."
Williams said the study would look specifically at where stormwater currently goes in that area, and identify low areas that could be used for future retention/detention ponds.
"It would be a planning document, basically," Williams said. "Even though that storm we saw in February was an extreme event, more than what you would design for, it still gives us the need to look at those areas before they're developed."
The study might show that certain areas shouldn't be developed, he said.
Bradford said the city has never conducted a flood study in the southeast part of the city.
He said the city is looking at a variety of projects to improve stormwater runoff and retention, using a variety of sources, including the ARC, FEMA and the Economic Development Authority.
Bradford said he's seeking EDA funding for a project that would add a third storm drain under Woodward Avenue that would help move water from areas west of Woodward Avenue to the Buena Vista retention pond.
There are currently two storm drains under Woodward Avenue, he said.