ROUND UP THE USUAL SUSPECTS

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The Ruth Street/Dunlawton area of Port Orange has flooded AGAIN!  (And from what I’m hearing from people around town so have many other areas.)  I hope everyone else escaped serious property damage, but our neighborhood was not so lucky.  Houses flooded, cars were submerged and Dunlawton was once again closed to traffic.

This occurred despite the recently completed $3-million Dunlawton Drainage Project that was supposed to alleviate or eliminate such problems.  What happened?  Early word has it that the pumps at the retention ponds couldn’t be turned on because of full pipes at the sewer plant or that “human error” resulted in trying to empty the ponds at high tide when the water had nowhere to go. Whatever the explanations from City Hall over the next few days happen to be, we’ve heard them all before.  They go something like this:  “Don’t blame us, we couldn’t help it, mistakes happen, it’s not our fault………….we need more money.”

I’m reminded of the surgeon who announces to the family that “the operation was a success but the patient died.”  In this case the surgeons are that same old group of tired engineers at Quentin Hampton and in Public Utilities that gave us the Reclaim Lakes mess, and the dead patient is the Port Orange taxpayer.  As an aside, the police and television news crews were in our neighborhood at dawn this morning, followed shortly by Bob Ford, Scott Stiltner and Ted Noftall–Public Works was conspicuous by its absence.

Surely there is a solution to this mess but just as surely it will not come from the group of usual suspects who after 20 years of planning, digging, piping and pumping have had no effect at all.  Clearly they are not up to the task.  The days when a project was considered a success because everyone made a paycheck need to go.

Mike Gardner

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11 Opinions on “ROUND UP THE USUAL SUSPECTS

  1. Sorry to hear about the flooding in your area. Hope the city will open their eyes and fix the problem…the right way!

  2. Just viewed more pictures of your area. It’s outrageous that you and your neighbors are dealing with this problem again after the drainage project and millions of dollars spent. Personally, I would be calling my attorney for some advice. You all deserve answers!

  3. Woody it will take the Mayor and his pegleg stooges in Utilities and at Quintin Hampton weeks to gather enough lipstick to put on ginned up flood report to explain last nights flooding in the lower Dunlawton corridor.
    We can’t wait that long nor will we have to if you can duplicate your infamous Woodman report parts 1 and 2 that explained the recent water main break and that was produced within hours and days if my memory serves me correctly.
    Can you give us a report on the lower Dunlawton Ave flooding such that area residents experienced an absolute zero flood reduction return on the 3 or 4 million taxpayer expenditure that went into the ” Dunlawton Avenue Drainage Improvements Project” aka the Mayors Big Steal.

  4. The Green Lake Fiasco, Two Questions
    I have lived in this area a very long time, been through a lot of storms and rain events. This was about a 10 year event (hurricanes in 2004 and we had nearly 10” of rain in the 1990s over a short period). Never saw Dunlawton this bad for so long after 4 hours of very heavy rain without a hurricane. So a question is surely going to be asked, “Did the Ruth Street multi-million dollar Lake Project in fact make the flooding worse than it would have been if Mayor Green hadn’t pushed this lake and pumping project?” Or, was the pumping and flood gates mismanaged by someone, leading to this flooding? Anyone have any answers to these questions.

    • Dear Underwater,

      I agree…..it seemed worse yesterday…it was worse…very similar to the way it was after 3 days of rain in May of 2009…in that rain event we must have had 22 inches of rain easily….and this was only one day….my home flooded in November of 1994, during Hurricane Gordon, then in 2004 after Frances and in May of 2009 and now yesterday, September 24th, 2014. Yesterday apparently they estimated rain fall at about 7 inches. Not that much rain relative to previous events. Yet the flooding was similar to May of 2009 with 3 days of rain. God help us if this most recent rain event had lasted 3 days.

      So your questions are right on target. What the hell happened here? Your quote is below.

      “So a question is surely going to be asked, “Did the Ruth Street multi-million dollar Lake Project in fact make the flooding worse than it would have been if Mayor Green hadn’t pushed this lake and pumping project?” Or, was the pumping and flood gates mismanaged by someone, leading to this flooding? Anyone have any answers to these questions.”

      I continue to be amazed at posts like the one below from “Good OL Boy”…apologists for incompetence…millions of Port Orange taxpayer dollars spent to no effect…can “Good Ol Boy” really be ok with that???….. I certainly am not…….my neighborhood was impacted horribly…we have many elderly folks here….I am becoming one quickly..and this works a serious emotional and physical hardship on these homeowners. My 92 year old mom, Mary Templeton, lives here with us now. A retired Volusia County teacher who gave 45 years to this area teaching children at Port Orange Elementary and Sugar Mill. She taught Lance Green, the Mayor’s son. An impassable Dunlawton is a big deal for her. And us. We have had EVAC here twice this month. Literally seconds count for my mom, Mary Templeton, when she needs those EVAC folks here. She is on O2 24/7 and has only 30% of her lung function. So delay could be fatal. She deserves better than this. So sorry to be “negative” sir…maybe we need to suck it up and just take it…….the city is just “doing it’s best”… and this is just the way things are…sorry if you cannot get help when you need it…sorry if your elderly neighbors are trapped in their homes..sorry if people are frightened and worried…….my guess is “Good OL Boy” did not have flooding in his home…there actually are cities where things are done properly and effectively…we have made progress in some areas as a society…projects engineered properly and determined through testing to be actually functional. Is America an exceptional country or are we some back water 3rd world mess run by non caring elites? Port Orange government will only be as good as we insist it be. I hope more people will show up at City Council and demand answers. For those of us impacted repeatedly by these flooding events, its intolerable.

      So Underwater, thank you for your post and your questions.

      Best,

      Dianne Templeton Gardner

  5. Mr. Underwater:
    I have lived hear all my life and have seen Dunlawton closed for days. I was in that area today and I think they closed it as a precaution. It looked to me like they could have left one lane open both ways. Emergency vehicles would certainly have been able to navigate Dunlawton. I’m sorry you have the negative feeling but some of the flooding today was the same old low lying areas that always flood. I hope your socks dry out.

  6. Dunlawton never should have been flooded like it was yesterday. Dunlawton is a primary emergency evacuation route for coastal Port Orange residents, Ponce Inlet and Daytona Beach Shores. Millions were spent to insure that even in the heaviest of rains high flow pumps and drainage improvements would prevent it from having to be closed. Something went terribly wrong with the new plan and equipment. Seems like a tremendous amount of taxpayer dollars were spent to obtain little to no results. We need a detailed and honest report of exactly what went wrong.

    • ‘All Washed Up’ is correct, Dunlawton Ave is a State Highway and has been designated by the State as a primary emergency evacuation route for coastal residents, Ponce Inlet and Daytona Beach Shores.

      Did anyone at city-hall notify the State about this recent cluster &%@# ??? The State & Federal Emergency Management Agencies have a major obligation to see that this deficiency in their plan is corrected forthwith.

      In view of the disaster that could occur if Dunlawton was closed during a Hurricane evacuation, the State should take control of resolving this problem away from the local yahoos that have been playing with it for the past ten years.

  7. I did not go to look at the flooding in the Ruth St. Dunlawton area but as a former city employee I know the area and situation well. My questions are…

    Is there proper drainage from the streets to the retention ponds i.e. large enough drains, clean drains, flow diversion using curbing with proper grading between where the water is pooling and the storm drains?

    Were the ponds full causing the streets not to drain?

    What department is in control of the river discharge pumps?

    Has written scenario based protocols, procedures and training been developed and put into place for the operation of the system including cooperation and coordination between public works and the utilities reclaimed plant operations?

    Assuming that the two departments were aware of the weather situation and potential for flooding, was there any advance discussion on how to proceed for this rain event?

    Were the ponds and tanks pumped down in advance to allow for the additional volume of water?

    Was anyone monitoring the water levels?

    Some foresight and proactive preparations could have possibly avoided or minimized the flooding. The city has been losing some of it’s long time employees with the institutional knowledge to deal with these situations and not making sure that they have people ready to step into these roles due to poor management and leadership. I and others have warned of this. Even PE’s can’t cope with this kind of thing without full knowledge, experience, and understanding of the systems, equipment and operations. Where were our PE’s? The average person or employee would not have even envisioned this flooding event under the circumstances. It is only the person that has been there and done that, that would. That is why institutional knowledge and experience is so important. I hope we all learned something from this that can be used in the future.

    • R. Woodman–I hope this story gives you a chuckle.

      In our back yard Dianne and I have a detached “mother-in-law apartment” and laundry room combination. It sits lower than the rest of the house and after it flooded in May of 2009 for the second time in five years I had had enough. I built a berm/raised bed planter around the entire structure and graded the area inside the berm to drain to low point at the back. The last part of the plan was to install an automatic bilge pump in a collection pit at the low point–the bilge pump, etc is still in a box in my garage. When Ruth St flooded yesterday, I went outside to check the neighborhood, take pictures, push cars, etc and forgot all about the berm. Some hours later enough water had seeped through the berm to rise to the level of the laundry room–OOPS. A submersible pump at the low point quickly reversed the tide and only a little damage was done.

      The chuckle part for me came after I read your post and realized that on my own little flood control project I was the management team, engineer, and labor on the whole job. So who was responsible? The management team should have insisted that labor finish the job and test it before calling it “complete.” But if engineering had designed a better berm to start with, management’s snafu would have only been a close call instead of water in the room. If labor hadn’t done so much complaining during the initial construction maybe management would have held it more accountable?

      In my case, and the City’s as well, I think management is ALWAYS responsible. If management hadn’t been wandering around my neighborhood with a camera like a tourist, labor would have gotten the pump going in plenty of time. All the questions you asked in your post need to be answered by management.

      Mike Gardner
      618 Ruth St
      Port Orange, FL 32127
      386-527-1959
      manddgardner@cfl.rr.com

  8. Well Mike …..you at least had the decency to admit as the engineer of record, construction company and management “team” that you were at fault when our very own personal flood mitigation project began to go sideways. And your “recovery” was pretty prompt. Damage was limited. Laundry room still functional. Peter, our cat, only got his tail slightly wet and just a little puffy. Pete is a real worrier and puffs his tail when there is a perceived crisis.

    If only our city would do as well as you did. Any accountability on anything would be nice. I am thinking that if the Mayor would just give you, the two Freds, Dru and Paul the $2.8 million dollars spent on this mess that apparently did not work, we probably could have a very functional flood mitigation plan right here at on Ruth Street and Powers Avenue. Kim, Margaret, Kela and Dianne could handle the PR, admin work and the ribbon cutting. And snacks. Pete could still worry.

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