Oregon City Council next week will consider agreements to fund the replacement of the Wheeling Street Bridge, and the design and construction of a bioretention facility to counter the effects of storm water runoff.
Council at a committee of the whole meeting last Monday voted in favor of placing on next Monday’s council agenda an agreement with the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) to allow the city to bid and manage the construction of the Wheeling Street Bridge replacement project.
“This is located at Otter Creek, between Seaman and Starr,” said Public Service Director Paul Roman.
“The city received a grant in funding from the Federal Highway Administration, which will pay 80 percent of the construction costs,” said Roman.
The total cost of the project is $653,000.
“It is a great benefit of the city, that level of outside funding,” said Councilman Jerry Peach. “I appreciate the administration’s work on this.”
Councilman James Seaman said he’s received comments from some residents in wheelchairs who are happy about plans to install sidewalks after the bridge is replaced.
“The commerce at the corner of Starr and Wheeling is where they like to go sometimes. They’ll be able to do that once the sidewalk is completed. So they’re feeling very positive about that. They can’t wait for the sidewalk to go in. They’re real supportive of this project,” said Seaman.
“This project will not only improve the road going over Wheeling and Otter Creek,” added Councilman Dennis Walendzak, “but it’s a means to improve our drainage in that area that’s been a bottleneck for some time. Mr. Roman’s work to continue to improve the drainage in other areas of the community is well served.”
The work is scheduled in the fall. The project is included in the city’s 2013 budget, said Roman.
Council will also be considering a grant agreement with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency for the city to design and construct a bioretention facility, which will be used as a demonstration project for the public.
“This grant will pay 100 percent of construction costs,” said Roman.
The amount of the grant is $105,757.78.
The proposed facility will be located behind the municipal complex on Seaman Road, near the soccer fields, according to Roman.
The facility is expected to counter the effects of storm water runoff, such as increased stream bank erosion, sediment deposition, and increases in other pollutants common in adjacent streams.
In the last 10 years, the city has required developers to provide retention or detention areas to reduce runoff and improve water quality. Since then, other options have become available for storm water treatment, such as bioretention facilities, which can lessen the impact in a cost effective way.
“We do have rules for developers. If your site is one acre or larger, you have to provide certain green infrastructure that will improve water quality,” said Roman. “A lot of times we’ll suggest these types of projects. We’d like to refer them to our parking lot out back as an example.”
The bioretention facility will allow water to migrate to a greenspace area from the municipal complex’s parking lot, where it can infiltrate into the soil and either be taken up by a variety of plantings within that greenspace or be slowly discharged to a nearby surface water feature. Using the grant funding, the city plans to retrofit original grass lined drainage swales with a number of bioretention “cells” at the municipal complex to demonstrate their ability to treat stormwater runoff.
In the middle of the municipal complex is Wolf Creek, which flows northeasterly across the property. It receives a majority of the drainage from the complex through in-pavement parking lot catch basins, associated storm sewers, and drainage swales.
“It really entails taking the existing swales and retrofitting them into a bioretention cell,” said Roman. “The bio retention cell is really a swale that retains water for a longer period of time. We take out the dirt that is in there now and put in more of a sand-mulch mix, and a lot of plantings. The plants will retain and absorb the water. The sand and the mulch will help trap sediment, which has a lot of nutrients attached.”
Wolf Creek discharges into Lake Erie at Maumee Bay State Park approximately 4.75 miles downstream of the complex. The creek has many “Beneficial Use Impairments” (BUI), such as degradation of fish and wildlife populations, and loss of fish and wildlife habitat. The project could help set an example to address the BUIs through the reduction of runoff and pollutants from parking lots.
As part of the local match, the city’s department of public service will design the proposed facility. Detailed design is planned next winter following a survey of the site.
Upon its completion, the city would welcome post project water quality monitoring by the Ohio EPA or a third party representative to demonstrate the effectiveness of the facility.
The city plans to bid the project by the end of this year. It is also included in the 2013 budget.
The city will fund public outreach and education costs associated with the project, including field trips and public tours, which is required as part of its storm water Phase 2 permit.
The city plans tours and public meetings as well, he added.
Signage and an informational kiosk, which are required as part of the grant, will be near the front of the facility to help explain the processes and functions of the bioretention areas.
“We do a lot of projects to improve the environment in our community,” said Seaman. “But this is a good example where the public could have more input and see it as a model. It could actually be an educational adventure for them. Our youth, as they become older and become leaders, can see how important it is to take care of our environment.”
Councilwoman Sandy Bihn, who is also Waterkeeper for Lake Erie, said she was pleased by the projectd.
“This is the kind of innovative project many of us working on Lake Erie want to see happen. So congratulations for doing an innovative job - something the public can experience and see,” she said.