Newport Public Works Director Tim Gross says work is underway to alleviate two of some of the the worst flooding spots in town; Benton and 10th bordering Oceana Natural Foods and in Nye Beach at Coast and 6th. Lots of sand bags have traditionally been placed at both locations to divert heavy stormwater that frequently overwhelms the drains. Oceana Natural Foods has flooded in the past. Merchants in Nye beach have long complained that their storm drains don’t work very well which requires “unsightly” sand bags to be placed in their prime shopping area all winter long.
Gross says city crews are replacing pipes and re-routing some of them to create more carrying capacity at both 10th and Benton and on Coast. He said the work is expected to take the next couple of weeks, and should (he emphasized SHOULD) eliminate the need for sand bags. He said “I’m going to be out there myself during heavy rains and watch the storm drains closely to make sure they’re working better.”
Gross said his crews have been out on the streets, digging around finding and fixing problems, some of which deal with what he called “cross connected” sewer lines that allow raw sewage to get into the storm drains. He said it’s causing the periodic elevation of contamination in storm water that winds up getting into the ocean at the Nye Beach Turnaround. He said the issue is a top priority for him and will soon be talking with the city council about how to better address the problem. He said they recently discovered another cross-connection on Elizabeth Street, and another at 9th and Hurbert. Both were fixed.
Gross says they’re in the process of using TV cameras lowered into the system to check the condition of sewer pipes and to detect more cross connections that still exist. He said once they finish their preliminary assessment he’ll have a better idea of just how big of a job fixing the city’s storm drain system might be. He said an overall stormwater master plan will produce a total estimated cost. From there, the city council will have to figure out how to raise the money. But he added, “At least Oceana Natural Foods and Nye Beach shoppers should see some improvements when the rains come.”