Public Works Director Hal Adkins is preparing for another year of storm drain cleaning, and hopes to secure another $100,000 to complete the work, which is necessary to keep Ocean City’s streets flood free. 

Work necessary to help OC flooding, DPW seeks funds of $100,000 for next year

(March 27, 2020) With year two of storm drain pipe and catch basin cleaning coming to a close, the Ocean City Department of Public Works already is preparing for next year, and hopes to secure another $100,000 to complete the work necessary to keep flood levels at bay. 

“The entire storm drain system is designed to address rainfall and runoff,” Public Works Director Hal Adkins said. “If you’re going to have a [storm drain system] then you should be maintaining your infrastructure investment.” 

Adkins and his department began tackling the clean up project two years ago, prior to which cleaning had been limited to site specific endeavors. 

The last major citywide endeavor was in 1985, after Hurricane Gloria battered the resort. 

Last fall, Public Works began concentrating on the lower end of the resort from Ninth Street to South First Street and Baltimore Avenue, west to the bay. 

During the Ocean City Green Team meeting on Wednesday, March 11, Adkins said his department was five to seven business days away from completing the work. 

Although Adkins does not have exact measurements currently, Adkins told Ocean City Today the amount of sediment pulled this go round was substantial. 

“This year’s findings … were far worse than last year’s efforts that were inclusive of areas between 10th and 14th [streets] and further north near Caine Woods,” he said. “We found greater levels of sediment that were clogging a greater percentage of the design capacity of the specific pipeline. In other words, a larger portion of the entire pipe diameter was filled with sediment.” 

Last Spring, crews removed 196.5 tons of sand.

Next year, Adkins said he would take a pause and reassess what needed to be done, and hopefully move forward with smaller cleanup projects at a smaller dollar value. 

City Councilman Tony DeLuca said the storm drain cleaning should be a huge priority, and needed to be funded every year. 

“My thought is we need to keep this going every year,” DeLuca said. “To me the top three things that we can do every year — canal dredging is number one, street paving is number two and now storm drain cleaning is number three.”

Adkins said one goal moving forward would be to obtain more help from the State Highway Administration, which owns, and is supposed to help maintain, Coastal Highway, Philadelphia and Baltimore avenues and the corresponding storm drains and catch basins. 

“Otherwise, it [the cleaning] went great,” Adkins said Wednesday, March 11, and reiterated that the work would be completed very soon.

Josh covers everything Ocean City government and crime. He graduated from the University of Richmond in 2019 with a B.A. in French and Journalism.

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