Why Stormwater Management matters: Oak Grove Townhouses

Oak Grove Townhouses detention pond

Almost an afterthought, Ascension’s Infrastructure Division Director introduced new Stormwater Program Manager Malcolm Say (spelled phonetically) during April’s meeting of the Council Utilities meeting.  The new manager had this to say about the state of affairs:

My general assessment of the state of the union in terms of waterways in the parish is, we have a lot of work to do.  I really need to talk to these contractors.  The main source of problems for the stormwater program is the construction and the destabilization of earth in the construction process.  That’s most of the problem.

So, I’ve been talking to the contractors and the developers, and indicating to them the importance of keeping our waterways free of sediment.  I talked to several of them and they’re more than happy to work with me and put out the best management practices.  So far I’ve nothing but good feelings from talking to our developers.

The message does not seem to have taken in the case of Oak Grove Townhouses where a detention pond is being dug.  Recent heavy rains having filled the pond, the development is pumping into nearby Willow Lake.

Willow Lake (before)

Willow Lake (after)

Kim Christy is seeking to unseat the incumbent for District 7 the new development and Willow Lake subdivision.

Kim Christy

Christy, three decades with the FBI, is comfortable deciphering development ordinances.

Section 17-4034 (F) requires all construction to be in accordance with the Ascension Parish Subdivision Construction Specifications which were adopted in June 2017.  Section 17-4094 (F) of the Unified Land Development Code sets forth an avenue for Fines and Enforcement of not less than $100, and not more than $500 per lot for failure to comply with Subdivision Regulations.  Appendix XIV of the ULDC is the Subdivision Construction Specifications.  This Appendix, Section 11 imposes requirements for erosion control.

It is my understanding that the Planning Department has been made aware of this specific problem at Oak Grove Townhouses development as the land was being cleared.  Pumping silted water into Willow Lake is definitely and example of a developer silting our waterways.

It is suspect that we hire an expert Stormwater Manager and he plans to work with the developers that are causing the problem.  Developers have a profit motive and are less likely to place sufficient requirements on themselves.  Currently, Ascension Parish has requirements for Erosion Control in the Subdivision Construction Specifications.  This is another instance of needing to enforce what has already been provided for the protection of our health, safety and welfare.

It will be interesting to see how Mr. Say and the administration handle this.  I support levying fines to encourage good construction practices from developers.