Report details drainage woes

Staff Writer
Geneseo Republic
A narrow ditch just north of Country Manor could be enlarged to help alleviate drainage issues in the area.

Drainage issues on Geneseo’s northeast edge have been a concern for city officials.

“Since Country Manor was first developed, we’ve had issues with stormwater in the northeast,” said public works director Chad VanDeWoestyne.

Alderman Sean Johnson said heavy rains have caused water to flow over Chicago Street.

Proposed developments in that area — including a possible senior housing unit by Bear Development and later phases of Mel Foster’s Maple Leaf Heights subdivision — have pushed the issue to the forefront.

At a recent city meeting, engineer Greg Ryckaert, with the city’s contracted engineering firm, IMEG, detailed the issues and offered possible solutions.

For the most part, stormwater in the area north of Ogden Avenue ultimately flows to the Green River.

Hindering the water’s progress are issues including overgrowth and brush near a culvert on Chicago Street, a restrictive ditch leading to the Hennepin Canal and a partially silted culvert under the canal.

The ditch leading to the canal has steep sides, which restricts water flow, said Ryckaert.

However, the ditch is located outside city limits and on private property.

“We would need an easement,” said Ryckaert, adding changing the ditch’s contours to include a flat bottom and flatter side slopes would improve water flow.

VanDeWoestyne said the ditch property owner had indicated a willingness to work with the city.

Alderman Brett Barnhart asked changing the ditch would improve drainage for the area.

“Anytime you start downstream and work your way up, it helps,” said Ryckaert.

The ditch leads to an existing culvert under the canal, however that culvert is partially silted.

Cleaning the existing culvert and adding a second culvert under the canal would help, however the canal property is owned by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and any work there would require IDNR permits.

West of Chicago Street is a box culvert, however overgrowth of trees and brush has restricted water’s access to that culvert.

Clearing the brush is an easy fix, and VanDeWoestyne said city crews plan to do that this year.

As the area is developed, other options could be utilized to help drainage. Stormwater now flows in an open ditch along Chicago Street. That ditch could be filled in and a storm sewer installed, said Ryckaert.

City officials also may work with Mel Foster representatives to include a 1.5 acre regional detention area filled with native grasses in the Phase III area of Maple Leaf Heights.

Each phase of Maple Leaf Heights would require its own water detention area unless plans were made for a regional detention area to encompass the bulk of the subdivision.

“It’s always better to plan for one regional detention area than to do four or five phases and put a smaller detention in each,” said Ryckaert.

At the conclusion of the drainage report, VanDeWoestyne said the next step would be to “get preliminary pricing” on improvements to the ditch leading to the canal.

Pricing numbers will be presented to the council at a future meeting.