When I first bought property on K-Beach we dug a test hole and found the water table down at the 12-foot level. After a couple of years of above average rainfall, the water table was up to about 2 feet below the ground level (this past summer). What is needed is a way to drain the surface water away, either to the Kenai River or to the Cook Inlet. The way to do this is drainage ditches along the roads. Few of the Borough roads in this area have drainage ditches along them.
I attended a couple of Borough meetings and in one of them the Borough Mayor stated that the roads were designed to let water collect along the roads and dissipate over time. I couldn’t imagine roads without drainage ditches designed to actually drain water. I checked on the Borough website and found the following:
14.06.170 Road Construction standards
Roads shall be constructed to prevent ponding of runoff waters in roadside ditches. Drainage ditches shall be constructed such that the runoff waters will be conveyed to natural drainage courses. Outfalls shall be constructed to prevent excessive siltation of riparian habitats, channel erosion, or other damage to public or private property.
It appears that the Borough has been building and accepting roads that don’t even meet its own specifications. After looking at how the wetlands maps have increased over the years one has to think it is the Borough’s intent to create de-facto wetlands by not allowing the surface water to drain. A lot of what the Borough now calls wetlands has 40-foot tall spruce trees growing in it and everyone knows they won’t grow in wet ground.
Now to get to the problems this high water table creates. The first of many is the flooding of septic systems. A flooded septic does not treat the sewage the way it was designed. This raises the possibility of contaminating the water wells in the area. Many people think that as long as the toilet flushes everything is fine — which is not the case. I suggest that people check to see if their leach field is flooded and go to the Borough if it is and ask for a $20,000 tax credit. That is the approximate cost of a mound type septic system.
People should also have their well water tested to be sure it is safe. If you have been affected or damaged by the flooding or high ground water I urge you to contact Borough officials, state representative and the Governor’s office and ask what is being done to resolve the problem.