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Springlakes residents fear damage from culvert project

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A slow-moving culvert project designed to prevent flooding along Reed Creek could also jeopardize a 20-acre lake in one of Columbia County’s older subdivisions, according to residents.

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Work continues on the Spring Lakes project to improve the flow of Reed Creek to prevent nearby homes from flooding during heavy rain events.  Jim Blaylock/Staff
Jim Blaylock/Staff
Work continues on the Spring Lakes project to improve the flow of Reed Creek to prevent nearby homes from flooding during heavy rain events.

“The joke is that this will turn Springlakes into Springfield,” said John Capes, the president of the Springlakes Property Owners Association.

The $814,000 project has closed off Sandalwood Drive at the back of the lake for the past 120 days – and the closure was extended last week for another 30 days to allow contractors to finish installing culverts.

The problem, Capes said, is that the concrete block and streamlined channels that replaced tranquil green space and ancient trees are both an eyesore and a conduit that will move stormwater with greatly increased velocity.

“Our lake is already filling in with silt, and the county is using it as a detention lake,” he said. “And, aesthetically, they’ve destroyed this place. It’s a huge mud hole.”

The project is one of many planned by county officials to control stormwater and ward off floods, especially in the areas upstream from Springlakes.

Although the project is moving slowly, and the detours are an annoyance to residents, Water Utility Director Bill Clayton said the project is nearly complete.

“The contractor has not pursued it as aggressively as we’d like, and it hasn’t moved as fast as we would prefer,” Clayton said. If the project remains incomplete when the contracted final date expires on Nov. 25, the county may take further action.

Regardless of the ultimate completion date, county officials also pledged to help restore the impacted area to make it more aesthetically appealing.

“The contractor will take it to a certain level, and then we would go back in with a landscaping contractor to take it to another level,” Clayton said.

Capes said many residents have serious doubts the area can be restored at all. “You can’t grow trees in concrete,” he said.

Officials are facing challenges in maintaining and modifying stormwater infrastructure in light of rapid growth and erosion and sedimentation issues in developed areas.

Last month, Columbia County and several developments near Jones Creek Golf Club were sued in U.S. District Court over allegations that poor design, lax enforcement of the Clean Water Act and other misdeeds have allowed erosion to damage property and pollute streams and lakes. The county has not yet responded to the complaint.

Although Springlakes is not involved in the suit, some of the issues the suit has raised are also of concern to its residents, Capes said.

Clayton said he hopes homeowners will be patient and allow the county to complete the job.

“We want it to be done right,” he said. “When judgment is passed on this project, I want it be on the final product – not on a snapshot of what it looks like on a given day.”

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woodymeister
241
Points
woodymeister 11/14/11 - 08:56 am
0
0
Does anyone have any evidence

Does anyone have any evidence of homes being flooded due to water backing up at this point along Reed Creek? Homes and/or businesses would not flood up stream two miles away without homes in this subdivision being flooded as well. This project was mis-guided and has been one of the most poorly managed that I have ever seen. It now is slated to be complete in 150 days, a far cry from the 90 days residents were told prior to work starting. There have been many, many days when the weather was perfect and there wasn't one single person working. Perhaps too much effort was placed on getting ready for the Lady A concert and not enough here. Our government at work......

Discussionstarter
478
Points
Discussionstarter 11/14/11 - 12:09 pm
0
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Were you here in 1990 when

Were you here in 1990 when several houses in the Fury's Ferry / Zaxbys area were flooded? This area belongs to the same Reed Creek drainage basin. The same silt that is cited in the article also ends up in Bowen Pond [Westlake].... since Bowen Pond is the end of the Reed Creek drainage basin. I know it is not pleasing for the Springlakes residents to see right now.... but if Columbia County brings in the right landscape architect..... they make it look better. Don't forget... this whole problem has been brewing for over 30 years due to uncontrolled / unregulated growth by the county and greedy developers who did not care about proper site development to prevent future issues such as this..

woodymeister
241
Points
woodymeister 11/14/11 - 12:24 pm
0
0
How is widening the creek in

How is widening the creek in Springlakes going to affect the potential flooding 10 miles down stream? If it overflows in Springlakes or doesn't, the water will still end up moving toward Bowen Pond. The explanation for this project was to provide better evacuation of water upstream from the area being widened. The county cited several examples of houses being flooded near Wheeler Rd - which was caused a back up of water at the Sandlewood area. Again, wouldn't a house along the creek prior to Sandlewood but in Springlakes flood before a house on Wheeler Rd.?

Little Lamb
45313
Points
Little Lamb 11/14/11 - 12:53 pm
0
0
John Capes, president of the

John Capes, president of the Springlakes Property Owners' Association, said, “The problem is that the concrete block and streamlined channels that replaced tranquil green space and ancient trees are both an eyesore and a conduit that will move stormwater with greatly increased velocity.”

Normally, when they do a stormwater modification, the goal is to slow down the flow, not speed it up. They put in culverts, nozzles and detention basins to hold up the flow and release it gradually.

comet2u
28
Points
comet2u 11/14/11 - 05:08 pm
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0
Mr. Capes...Welcome to

Mr. Capes...Welcome to Suburbia!

cytoranger
6
Points
cytoranger 11/14/11 - 07:04 pm
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Aren't they the ones who

Aren't they the ones who manipulated the county into ownership and maintenance of their otherwise private and. Non public access pond/lake, or maybe it was another yuppie HOA .

johncapes
38
Points
johncapes 11/16/11 - 05:46 pm
0
0
WestLake is place for public

WestLake is place for public lake with no access! they are now getting a new dam! that appears to be a pretty good deal for someone. SpringLakes has a 20 acre lake, surrounded by homes, put is open to all of the SpringLakes residents thru a park on the lake. Come by and take a look. Turn off Columbia Road on to SpringLake drive, go about one mile, and see the mess on the left side of the road. Your tax dollars at work, and more to come!

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