The Cole County Department of Public Works will hold its first Stormwater Management Advisory Committee meeting next month.
The meeting is scheduled for 8 a.m. May 23 at the Cole County Fire Protection District Training and Administration Building on Monticello Road.
The formation of this committee is the result of work done to manage stormwater runoff and erosion control in the county in recent years.
Some of the worst problems occurred in 2016 and 2017. The causes cited included rainfall exceeding the design of pavement and pipes; debris clogging pipes or inlets, with the first heavy rain of spring flushing debris from fall and winter; and bottom floor elevations of some basements being too low, in close proximity to creeks and/or below the low point of a road.
"We found that creeks filled in and the water was not moving through like it used to," County Engineer Eric Landwehr said. "Some pipes were undersized that may have been OK years ago, but not now. The problems have probably been there for a while. No systems are failing."
Since that time, the county has been doing a large number of stormwater improvement projects, including the biggest stormwater project the county has ever undertaken.
The Crossroads Subdivision stormwater project included Dewberry Drive, Rustic Lane and Greenbrier Drive, located just south of Jefferson City off U.S. 54. The total cost for the work was more than $1.4 million. The project replaced all stormwater inlets and pipes, then rebuilt subdivision streets.
The Missouri Department of Natural Resources requires cities and counties with urbanized areas to follow guidelines established by the Environmental Protection Agency through the Clean Water Act. A component of the county's stormwater management plan is to allow public participation and a citizens' forum to address stormwater concerns.
The initial committee will be comprised of the members of the Cole County Road and Bridge Advisory Board. The six regular members of the board are county residents appointed by the County Commission on a yearly rotating basis, with member terms lasting three years. The main duties of the Road and Bridge Advisory Board are to provide guidance and advice to the County Commission and Public Works Department in the expenditure of sales tax funds for road and bridge improvements. The stormwater forum will be added to their duties.
Committee members are Greg Bowman, Don Hillis, Bruce Dawson, James Wunderlich, Mike Wyss and Jason Otke.
The stormwater meetings will be biannually, and citizens will have an opportunity to address the committee with concerns. The committee will have no authority to direct work to be done. However, they will be able to recommend correction measures to the Public Works Department and ultimately to the County Commission.
Citizens are encouraged to present their concerns and attend the meetings. People wishing to speak are required to submit their concern through an online form, by mail or through email. The submittal needs to be received by the Public Works Department no later than May 17 for inclusion in the May 23 meeting.
Information can be found at colecounty.org/505/Stormwater.
Residents can also call the Public Works Department at 573-636-3614.