Study shows parish where water flows in Destrehan area

From staff and wire reports

October 19, 2009 at 12:48 pm  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

The parish was able to create this aerial map that shows the direction of water flow in the Ormond and Red Church subdivisions. The information was gathered by parish workers using GPS devices, which saved the parish money by not having to use a firm to c
Courtesy Photo
The parish was able to create this aerial map that shows the direction of water flow in the Ormond and Red Church subdivisions. The information was gathered by parish workers using GPS devices, which saved the parish money by not having to use a firm to c
Destrehan - Over the last few months, Luis Martinez has had to explain himself to more than a few curious residents who’ve watched him crawl around drainage ditches and poke his head into manhole covers.

But thanks to his and other parish employees’ willingness to walk the streets and get dirty, officials now have a clearer picture of rainwater flows in two major East Bank subdivisions.

Martinez, St. Charles Parish’s geographic information systems coordinator, led the charge to gather data on the drainage infrastructure in Ormond and Red Church using Global Positioning System devices. The information has been used to create an aerial map showing the location of canals, catch basins, subsurface drainage, manholes and, most importantly, the direction of water flow. The information can help plan future improvements and identify potential trouble spots.

“For the first time, the parish has reliable information about drainage in the Destrehan area,” Martinez said. “We have a wealth of physical evidence that we didn’t have before.”

Because the project was completed in-house, the parish was able to realize significant cost savings. Outside firms would have charged upwards of $150 an hour to complete fieldwork, while parish employees worked for an average of $30 an hour.

Parish President V.J. St. Pierre Jr. praised the effort as a way to help the parish better respond to emergencies while planning for the future.

“We already know which areas are susceptible to flooding based on past events,” he said. “But now we know, with a certain amount of confidence, why those areas behave as they do. This information is simply invaluable for departments such as Public Works and Planning and Zoning.”

The information can also be used by developers in completing drainage impact studies, Martinez said.

New Sarpy, which presents unique challenges due to older infrastructure, is next in line to be studied.




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