■ Lexington's Division of Water Quality was honored recently with a stormwater award for the Sugar Mill/Vaughns Branch Hazard Mitigation Project. The award was presented by the American Public Works Association's Kentucky Chapter, which has more than 200 active members and five branches.
The APWA's Kentucky Chapter presented the award because the project demonstrates that flooding in older communities can be reduced by building new infrastructure that meets current standards. This year, the Sugar Mill/Vaughns Branch Project was chosen out of 20 submissions from municipalities all over Kentucky.
"This project, while not part of the federal consent decree reached between the city and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2008, is an important step in addressing stormwater management in Lexington," said Charles Martin, director of the Division of Water Quality. "It is one of many projects designed to improve water quality, reduce stormwater runoff and improve our city."
The Sugar Mill/Vaughns Branch Project included the creation of a seven-acre detention basin immediately upstream from Versailles Road. Stormwater will now pass more quickly from the upstream area and drain under Versailles Road.
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Because the land is vacant, the speed of the water will not cause any downstream flooding and might reduce standing water during a heavy rainstorm. Additionally, four box culverts were replaced, sanitary sewer lines were improved and trees were planted in the detention basin to stabilize the banks.
The project was managed by the city's Division of Water Quality with involvement from Tetra Tech Inc., Independent Concrete Pipe and Bluegrass Contracting.
In terms of dollars spent, the Sugar Mill/Vaughns Branch Project is the largest stormwater project Fayette County has seen since the 1930s. A grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency Hazard Mitigation program financed three-quarters of the $2.1 million dollar project, and the Kentucky Division of Emergency Management and the city of Lexington contributed the rest.
Compiled by Dorothea Wingo