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Covington Commission Adds Extra Time to Tuesday Meeting for Flood Comments

UPDATE (5:15 p.m.): The City of Covington has issued an official statement about the flooding and effects of heavy rainfall:

Last week's rainfall was immense and devastating to some of our residents. City Hall has been responding to citizens' concerns about the event in an effort to help our fellow Covingtonians.

Words cannot express the deep sense of empathy for the families who have been impacted by the rain.

City leaders are frustrated by the sewer system's apparent inability to handle the large volume of water Mother Nature has delivered to our area.

We need to look at the problem, and confront it. We need to plan for future unforeseen events the best we can.

In order to address your concerns, we are hosting a Special Town Hall Meeting, tomorrow at 5 p.m. located at Commission Chambers, at 638 Madison Avenue. This meeting is not part of the usual Commission meeting that will begin at 6pm promptly.

City Leaders, SD1 representatives, and the City Commissioners will attend.

We want to explore options and discuss possible immediate and long-term plans to help address this recurring problem.

We want to share accurate information about the status of our sewer system.

It is the City's desire to remain focused on a constructive solution, working with SD1 and other partners, to create and implement improvements to reduce the frequency and severity of the impact of these rain events on Covington residents.

Although SD1 owns the sewer and drainage system "from the grate down (catch basins, pipe and conveyance system)," the City owns and maintains from the grate up including curbs and gutters. All are a part of overall storm water sewer system. We consider the safety and quality of life issues for our residents a primary concern. We will work diligently until we can decide on a strategy that will equip our city to handle these extraordinary weather conditions in as best a way that is possible, and in a way that will cause the least amount of damage to our properties.

Current weather patterns, the location in regards to flood lines, and an aging infrastructure have put the issue of flooding on many municipal priority lists, not just in Covington. These systems, constructed in the 1950's, have a limited capacity of catching rainfall, and if that rainfall exceeds that capacity, back-up ensues. 

As you know the City has been providing cleanup assistance (dumpsters, street cleaning, debris removal, extra CSI pickups) and coordinating with SD1 and KYTC for other efforts such as catch basin cleaning. We have also had extra DPI crews out on the July 4th holiday weekend, checking catch basins for obstructions, monitoring high water, and generally being available to help at a moment's notice. In addition, Police and Fire have helped with road closures, extra patrol, and pumping of some flooded basements.

I want to thank everyone on City staff for their outstanding extra effort this week and I also want to thank SD1 and KYTC for their quick and effective responses, doing everything they were able to do. We will continue to work together.

In addition to tomorrow's Special Town Hall Meeting, the City will be attending the SD1 Board Meeting scheduled on July 16th to specifically discuss helping Covington residents and SD1 ratepayers and their individual circumstances.

In the meantime, if you have experienced any flooding, please see the following information provided by SD1 that might be helpful:

To make a call about flooding on your property, dial SD1's dispatch number 859-578-7466 and press option 1.

Once SD1dispatch receives a call, they send an SD1 crew out to conduct an investigation, take pictures of the site and distribute incident forms if necessary. Should a customer want to fill out an incident form on their own, they can access it here: http://www.sd1.org/CustomerService/RainEventPreparations.aspx

Once they receive a trouble call to dispatch, SD1 crews plan to respond within a two-hour window.

SD1 states: "It is really important that the City send residents to SD1 should they receive any calls. The investigation is key in creating documentation that is necessary to identify and track problem areas."

With more rain in the forecast, there may be questions about what can be done to prevent future flooding. Information about what SD1 can do, residents can do and the City can do, can all be found on our website at this page: http://www.sd1.org/CustomerService/RainEventPreparations.aspx.

Residents can also go to www.sd1.org and then click on "rain event preparations" under the "quick links" section on the left side of the home page.

Sincerely,

Larry Klein

City Manager

City of Covington, Kentucky

Tuesday's meeting of the Covington City Commission will begin an hour earlier than usual to allow for comments related to the heavy rain and flooding that hit the city last Monday and Saturday.

The meeting will begin at 5 p.m. instead of the usual 6 p.m.

The impact of the high level of rain on residents and the issues related to how to address the problems will be discussed. The notice sent from City Hall indicates that due to schedules and time contraints, this will be a short meeting.

See also: Photos: High Water Closes Covington Streets, Rain Causes Minor Flooding

Other articles related to Tuesday's city commission meeting: Stewart Iron Works, Former Robke Lot Developments May Be Discussed Tuesday & Mainstrasse Corner to Be Renamed by City & More from Commission Agenda

Photo: Flooding in road near Meinken Field on Saturday/RCN file