During Wednesday's meeting, City Engineer Brian Pohlar outlined the new floodplain map, which is currently being proposed by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, and the current storm sewer system.
"With the current boundaries, there are approximately 60 houses and buildings that sit within the floodplain," Pohlar said. "The current storm sewer system, which is separate from the sanitary sewers, consists of pipes that are 4.8-feet high by 7.5-wide."
"The tunnel is not sized big enough at the current time to handle a 25- or 50-year flood, which we have had some occurrences of the past couple months," Pohlar told the council. "However, the whole problem is a tough fix because of the houses and other buildings that sit on top of the tunnel."
Pohlar also described the two existing ponds -- one of which is in Forest Park and the other is on State Road 59, on its northwest corner where it intersects with Ridge Street -- and the current status of the Pogues Run Detention Pond Project.
"Currently, we are in the environmental review stages of the proposed pond, which includes studying the wetlands, Brownfields and archeological aspects of the area," Pohlar, who is also a professional engineer with Hannum, Wagle and Cline Engineering, Terre Haute, said. "Once built, the pond would intercept the flow of water and slow it down, but overall, there are no easy fixes."
He added events like a 100-year flood does not mean it will happen once every 100 years, but instead there is a 1-percent chance annually such an event could occur.
Several council members inquired about the effectiveness of the pond along State Road 59, which is owned by the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT), which Pohlar agreed was not in the best condition.
"I don't believe that pond is functioning properly, due in part to the hinges on the flapper gates being broken," he said. "However, INDOT feels it is actually helping the system by creating a bubble effect, which I also don't agree with, particularly with the ineffectiveness of the hydraulics."
Knust Excavating Owner Mike Knust added the effectiveness of the Pogues Run tunnel has also changed since it was built.
"It was probably larger than what was needed and worked better when it was built," Knust said. "I recently inspected parts of the tunnel and found it remarkable that the overall condition is really not that bad. There are some areas that are seeping, but that is to be expected with something of its age."
He also said while the tunnel would eventually have to be replaced down the line, having the additional pond to catch more water before it hits the tunnel would be beneficial.
"We have to catch the water on the upstream side of the flow and feed it in slower," Knust said. "What gets me is that I am still confused as to why homes were built on top of the tunnel, but it is a nationwide issue that many are thinking about after the fact."
Pohlar told The Brazil Times the proposed pond would be approximately 4-acres wide and 9-feet deep, which would compensate for a drainage area of about 608 acres around where it would be placed, which is south of United States 40 and just west of Murphy Avenue. In comparison, the pond at Forest Park compensates for 65.7 acres of drainage area.
"The total watershed of Pogues Run covers about 2.3 square miles," he said. "While the pond would help the problems created by 10-, 15- and 20-year floods, but not much more. Like I said earlier, there is not easy, or cheap, way to combat the issues."
Pohlar added some of the drainage issues are supposed to be addressed when INDOT begins work on the United States 40 project, with the addition of more storm drains.
In other business during Wednesday's meeting, the council:
* Again discussed the proposed changes to the credit card policy. The council learned of the number of credit cards in circulation, which included seven Visa cards on the General Fund side, and on the Utilities side, there are four Visas, four Lowe's cards, and one card apiece for Walmart, Staples and Northern Tool and Equipment.
Mayor Ann Bradshaw said one each of the Visa and Lowe's cards on the Utilities end can be eliminated and deferred to the council for their thoughts.
According to City Attorney Traci Lawson, credit cards have been utilized since 2005, and after several ideas were suggested, the council agreed to table the issue in order to meet with department supervisors to determine what needs would require them to have credit cards,
* Approved the statements of compliance for a pair of local companies, allowing them to retain tax abatements for another year. A special meeting was set for 7 p.m., Wednesday, June 22, to review additional compliance forms, along with other business, and
* Received an updated version of a Floodplain Area Ordinance, which will be up for first reading during the council's regularly scheduled meeting in July.
The next regular meeting of the Common Council of the City of Brazil will be 7 p.m., Wednesday, July 13, in the Council Chambers at City Hall.