Farmington prepares for monsoon season

April 24, 2012 • State News

FARMINGTON, N.M. (AP) — Public works employees for Farmington are getting [auth] the city’s storm water system ready for monsoon season.

The city’s nearly two-year long process of cleaning out its storm water system is nearing an end, The Farmington Daily Times reported ( ). The cleanup came after a 2010 storm overwhelmed the city’s arroyos and collection ponds, caused damage, severe flooding and deposited silt and trash.

It took so long partly because beginning to repair the damage was the lengthy permitting process involving any work on the arroyos.

The foothills area of town on the northeast side was one of the areas hit hardest in 2010. In response, the city included a new detention pond in its list of projects to be funded by extending the life of city-held bonds.

Once that detention pond is built, residents of that side of town will be able to breathe a little easier when they see enormous black clouds threatening the horizon during summer months.

Even with the detention ponds and system of arroyos, Farmington’s flooding woes will keep getting worse as long as construction continues and the town expands. The problem is that every structure, road and driveway takes an absorbent, permeable patch of ground and makes it impermeable.

“It increases runoff,” said Jeff Smaka, director of public works. “The roof of your house, your driveway, those don’t absorb water. What developers have to do is they have to control the difference between what it has historically run off at and the increase caused by the development. Developments are required to handle runoff for a 25-year storm event.”

Once the new detention pond is completed and the repairs to the arroyos are finished, Smaka believes the city’s storm water management system will be up to date.

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