Engineers Review of Halifax Canal at Dunlawton Av. and Proposed Berm Construction | Draft
refundFebruary 26, 2015
Dear Manager Harden,
I just finished reading the report from Pegasus Engineering on the advisability of a berm along the east bank of the Halifax Canal (see attached) and the only possible conclusion I can reach is that the City of Port Orange has once again wasted its money.
Most of the report consists of a rehash of existing material yet even there Pegasus reaches erroneous conclusions. Their notion that your October 3, 2014 Memorandum to the City Council adequately summarizes the events that caused the most recent flooding of Dunlawton is no longer widely accepted. Even the Quentin L Hampton project engineers admitted in the Flood Workshop that once the banks of the Halifax Canal are breached no amount of pumping and retention can keep up for long with the resulting inundation of Dunlawton.
Pegasus also, for reasons obscure to me, makes a big deal of the “Unnamed Ditch” along the south property line of the Sugar Mill development. They note the benefit of installing a backflow prevention device on the outfall pipe of this ditch and their conclusion that it would help eliminate a potential source of stormwater on Dunlawton is correct–that is exactly why just such a device was originally planned for the Dunlawton Drainage Project but was eliminated at the same time as the berm. Once again we are paying twice for engineering.
Their final conclusion that construction of a berm along the east bank of the Halifax Canal would adversely affect upstream flooding is not supported by existing topographical information. They claim that under “staged up” conditions (greater than 5 feet in elevation per their report) water would “flow at even a greater rate over the west bank along Spruce Creek Road, and would also slightly increase the flow over the canal banks along Canal View.” Manager Harden, you have in your possession, and presumably made available to Pegasus, the Specific Purpose Survey, Job Number 11-0976, performed by Sliger Surveying for Quentin L Hampton, dated 12-22-2011. That survey shows the banks of the Halifax Canal to be at elevations of between 6.6 and 9.9 feet in the areas noted by Pegasus. Since these elevations are above the 6-foot elevation of the now deleted berm, water would overflow the berm first. In fairness to Pegasus, there are some short sections of bank where their observations may be valid but these sections are extremely limited in scope and could easily be handled during berm construction.
Manager Harden, I know that your past, pleasant, associations with Pegasus Engineering when you worked in another city have resulted in contacts within the Pegasus organization. Given these associations is it perhaps possible to ask for a refund?
618 Ruth St
Port Orange, FL 32127
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14 thoughts on “Engineers Review of Halifax Canal at Dunlawton Av. and Proposed Berm Construction | Draft”
David Harden February 26, 2015 at 3:35 pm
Pegasus was chosen as one of the firms selected by Volusia County to do drainage and environmental consulting for the County. While I do know one engineer who now works at the firm, I have never had any associations with the firm or any of the other engineers who work there.
As to your technical arguments, I will review them when I have some time next week.
Tsk tsk, Peg-leg or Mrs. Peg-leg as the case maybe.
I think we should keep having engineering studies completed until Mr. Gardner gets the one he likes.
From one oldtimer to another one. Your right on this one Hank.
First a comment by Hank Springer:
It so discouraging and infuriating to see engineering firms and consultants give city administrations whatever they want at a cost to the taxpayers. It is sort of like shopping for a real estate appraisal until you get the one which satisfies administrative secret needs. The closeness of engineering firms and consultants with governmental agencies rivals the legalized bribery going on between lobbyists and politicians. And all involved with these shenanigans have no shame. — hank
OK Hank, so let’s here what you would do differently. What engineering firm would you hire to give you a solid independent analysis of the project? We are all ears!
If Mr. Let’s Have Another is suggesting that the Pegasus report provided a ” solid independent analysis of the project ” then I would invite him, or anyone else reading this blog, to point out the exact page and paragraph in that report where the ” solid independent analysis of the project ” begins.
The Pegasus report nothing more than bought and paid for political cover
Not suggesting that at all, merely throwing it out there for those that seem to have all the answers, or at least the criticism, to share the hand they would play. How would you handle it Ted Noftall? Which engineering firm would you have hired and why? What different direction would you have given the engineering firm of your choice?
The Florida Rural Water Association performs professional engineering consultations for member cities for a contribution of $5,000. These are detailed professional consultations performed by their on staff engineers who in many cases have previously worked many years for agencies such as the FDEP and SJRWMD. These people have many years of practical real world experience and have conducted many professional consultations that have helped to holistically solve big problems for numerous municipal and private organizations with honest administrative management that have nothing to hide and truly want to solve problems.
The FRWA is a grass roots organization and has no skin in the game politically or no economic interest in placating organizations in order to court their future business. The City of Port Orange is an active member of the FRWA and pays an annual membership fee for these services. They stand ready willing and able to assist our city at any time they are needed. There is only one thing to consider before engaging them. They will not lie for city administrators or produce a consultation analysis tailored made to cover up malfeasance or justify some position an administration wants to convey to city officials. Greg Kisela was offered the opportunity to utilize this resource and he summarily rejected doing so full well knowing that they would perform an extremely detailed and honest analysis that tells the full story. So, if the city’s administration decided to use this grass roots resource that they pay for every year and is readily available to them make sure that you really want a consultation that reports the truth without any obfuscation, deception, or hidden agendas.
If the city manager is looking for a professional, detailed, and totally objective engineering consultation with analysis from a grass roots professional organization that is recognized by the entire public and private utility industry the city should at the very least have the FRWA conduct an independent engineering consultation even if this is in addition to any consultations that have been commissioned to private engineering firms, and make sure the private engineering consultant knows that the FRWA is conducting a parallel analysis. This will ensure public officials and citizen activists that city officials are not giving them a snow job by procuring from the private consulting engineer excuses for malfeasance or subjective justifications for future folly that is in their own personal best interest instead of the best interest of the taxpayers. This is a no brainer to utilize the FRWA to keep city administrators and private engineering consultants honest because these professional objective non-profit consultations are performed by the FRWA for a mere contribution of $5,000 and are done as a grass roots public service to protect the public and ensure integrity and professionalism in the water and wastewater industry. Try it you’ll like it!
Thank you. This is very good to know.
You’ve got a deal young man! Just go to http://www.frwa.net for more information. Call them and speak with their head engineer Sterling Carol and he will supply you with details on the availability, scope, professionalism, and expediency in which they can conduct a detailed parallel consultation that will validate any private engineering consultation that is being performed and keep things honest for the citizens. At a contribution of $5,000 this does not have to go to consent agenda for approval and in terms of funding this is chicken feed. This type of consultation could be started with a simple scope of services agreement the FRWA supplies and a $5,000 purchase order and could be underway within a month.
Thanks again. Will make some calls Monday.
Maybe Mike should do a report he seems to have an education in every topic that comes before council. Better yet Mike run for office or apply for the City Managers job, you could then appoint Ted as finance director and your wife in as public utilities director. I am sure the city would run like a top in just a few days time.
Hey Take back…..
An understanding of the issues in Port Orange does not require any special eduction–just reading English at a fairly simple level and thinking for yourself–if you try it sometime I’m sure you can do it.
Thanks Mike. You are correct. Most of this is just common sense, minus the influence of special financial interests groups. I would love to see any of the following on the city council: Ted Noftall, Margie, Dianne, you Mike, Newton White and Mark Schaefer