OV Town Talk: Looking back on the monsoon - Tucson Local Media: Columns

OV Town Talk: Looking back on the monsoon

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Paul Jungen

Posted: Wednesday, October 24, 2012 4:00 am

The 2012 monsoon is officially over, and it’s safe to say that 2012 has been an active season, with heavy storms that have packed quite a punch.

The monsoon brought moist air, spectacular displays of lightning, and massive amounts of stormwater. On July 4, parts of Oro Valley received more than 3.5 inches of rain in less than 90 minutes, producing a “100-year storm.” On July 15, Oro Valley was hit with another powerful thunderstorm, while other smaller storms throughout the season continually tested the Town’s stormwater infrastructure.

At some point during this active monsoon season, nearly all the Town’s washes and drainage ways were flowing and contributing to the collection and conveyance of very large quantities of stormwater, debris and sediment.

Since the implementation of the Stormwater Utility in 2008, the Town of Oro Valley has remained diligent in its cause, taking a proactive approach that prepared the Town for this active monsoon season, and others that will follow.

Several drainage-mitigation projects, which were constructed over the past four years, are functioning as designed to protect property and life during and after storm events. During the July 4 storm, the gabion basket improvements to the Lomas de Oro Wash kept the stormwater within the channel so that the water did not erode the channel banks and cause damage to the adjacent residences. Improvements along Linda Vista near Logan’s Crossing helped channel the stormwater to its proper discharge location. The storm also caused heavy sedimentation in the wash within the Rancho Feliz subdivision. Town of Oro Valley crews rented special equipment to move the sediment to protect homes from future flooding.

In addition, procedures and projects implemented by the Oro Valley Stormwater Utility have significantly reduced the impacts of severe storms, such as:

Protective road closures are set up more quickly to mitigate hazardous situations.

The durations of storm-related road closures are shorter.

Debris cleanup is more timely and responsive.

The amount of sediment at wash crossings has been significantly reduced.

The Oro Valley Stormwater Utility will continue providing an outstanding level of service through proactive flood mitigation and ongoing inspection and maintenance, ensuring a properly-functioning drainage system for a safer community.

(Editor’s Note: Paul Jungen is the Stormwater Engineer for the Town of Oro Valley.)

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