Non-profit to provide residents relief from surface water

  • By Kelly Sullivan
  • Sunday, March 1, 2015 9:50pm
  • News

Kalifornsky Beach residents are working toward solutions to the incessant surface water afflicting hundreds of subdivision properties.

The goal is to complete a 2-mile Seventh Street water conveyance structure by the start of this year’s flood season, said K-Beach Flood Mitigation Project President and CEO Kelly Lipinski.

The massive drainage system would divert surface water from the area toward the Kenai River, Lipinski said.

The K-Beach Mitigation Project, a non-profit formed in January to address the area’s damaging ground and surface waters, is managing the conveyance structure project.

The preliminary hydrology and engineering related assessments have been completed, Lipinski said. Currently the Mitigation Project is vetting construction companies who can complete the labor portion of the project, she said.

John Pekar of Kenny and Associates of Anchorage was contracted to complete the hydrology studies. DHI Consulting Engineers LLC completed the engineering plans, Lipinski said.

Jim Munter, of J.A. Munter consulting in Anchorage has been a consultant for the conveyance structure’s preliminary studies, Lipinski said. His role has also been defending those plans to various organizations, she said. Separate and apart from K-Beach Flood Mitigation Project, Jim Munter also co-chairs the K-Beach High Water Drainage Task force.

Lipinski brought Mitigation Project officers Toby Burke, Mike Ruffridge and Peggy Dye up to date on the project’s progress at a Mitigation Project committee meeting Sunday, at the Kenai Community Library.

Permitting for the 2-mile structure will be filed with the Department of Natural Resources and the Donald E. Gilman River Center, which makes it a Multi-Agency Permit application process, Lipinski said. The only Kenai Peninsula Borough permit required will be for a culvert upgrade, Lipinski said.

The drainage system will be constructed within the section line easement that has been designated as Seventh Street, Lipinski said. The ditch that runs down the easement, a street that never came to fruition, was not authorized, meaning it wasn’t manmade, she said.

Floodwaters have carved the ditch into what has become a makeshift conveyance structure, Lipinski said.

The project intends to use purposeful engineering to convey water away from infrastructure and into the river, she said.

Maintenance on existing ditches does not require permits. It has been established that the structure is a ditch, Lipinski said.

“In our pre-application meeting with DNR, it was expressed that the ditch was not an authorized ditch,” Lipinski said. “It is the opinion of our entity that the water did not require authorization in order to form the ditch that we find today.”

For this reason, a Temporary Water Use Permit, required for constructing a new ditch to convey water, a conveyance structure, should not be required, Lipinski said.

So far the project has only gone through a pre-application review with the Department of Natural Resources, Lipinski said.

“When we submit our final plans and applications, we will be able to revisit this issue,” Lipinski said.

Construction needs to be completed by the time the ground thaws, Lipinski said.

It is possible that work will be held off until next year, she said.

During the committee meeting, Lipinski covered the two other projects the Mitigation Project is working on, one of which is the water contamination testing. A feasibility study is being completed in coordination with the task force.

The conveyance structure is the main focus of the Mitigation Project right now, while the other two are very important as well, Lipinski said.

“The project will be taken to competition, hopefully in time for this season,” Lipinski said.

Reach Kelly Sullivan at kelly.sullivan@peninsulaclarion.com.

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