Q&A: How fixing the Riverdale Park Stormwater system will affect the community
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Q&A: How fixing the Riverdale Park  Stormwater system will affect the community

The problem of the Riverdale Park stormwater system has been an ongoing project in Riverdale Park.

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Q&A: How fixing the Riverdale Park  Stormwater system will affect the community
Photo By Kimberly Seif

Fixing the stormwater systems in Riverdale Park has been an ongoing project for the last several years. The project aims to revitalize the existing storm water drainage systems in Riverdale Park and creating new solutions to reduce the amount of stormwater runoff.

Why is there a need to fix the stormwater systems and reduce stormwater runoff?

The elevation of Riverdale Park stands at only 39 feet. This is a significantly lower elevation than College Park, which stands at 69 feet, or University Park, which is 72 feet, according to the Maryland Gazetteer. Due to the close proximity of the Wells Run Creek, the lower elevation of Riverdale Park makes the area more susceptible to flooding, and without a good stormwater management system, there is nowhere for the water to runoff and it is not absorbed into the ground, so it collects above ground.

How will the amount of stormwater runoff be reduced?

Riverdale Park City Council Member David Lingua has made mitigating stormwater runoff a central issue during his time on the city council. He works with his fellow council members as well as the Riverdale Park Department of Public Works to try and find a solution.

"There's not one thing that's going to address it fully," Lingua said.

Lingua states that one permanent solution will not work for every property, especially in residential areas due to the close proximity of houses.

"It's just a matter of how to manage it so that water is either absorbed in [the ground] or come off the property and get to a drain," Lingua said.

What has been done to fix the stormwater systems?

In 2010, Riverdale Park passed a memorandum of understanding, or MOU, along with University Park, to look at short-term and long-term restoration plans for the Wells Run Creek as well as evaluate storm water plans that will have an impact on Wells Run.

New developments, such as Riverdale Station, a shopping center located on Baltimore Ave. took stormwater runoff into consideration when building, making sure that their stormwater runoff would lead either along Route 1 to Wells Run, or to storm drains that lead under the CSX rail lines, according to the Riverdale Station Stormwater Management (SWM) construction plans.

Lingua has also stated that they have repaired storm drains and water pipes in Riverdale Park. He also said that the Department of Public Works has been planting trees in order to limit stormwater runoff. Planting trees helps limit runoff because it can store rainfall in the canopy of the tree as well as promote the absorption of water into the soil through the roots. Lingua said there are obstacles, though, when it comes to tree-planting.

"There's just a combination of things that need to be done in terms of planting, " Lingua said.

According to Lingua, when landscaping the yard, the Department of Public works has to make sure to plant the tree in the optimal location to make sure that the water will drain properly.

How long will this project continue?

Lingua has said that the project will continue for an indeterminate amount of time. Each property that needs to be helped could possibly require more than one solution in order to decrease the stormwater runoff.

"It's going to be something that we are trying to address as much as we can over time," Lingua said, "Nothing's really gonna solve the issue, I mean totally."

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