Q&A: Paradise Valley mayor discusses storm water woes

Michael Collins

The Town of Paradise Valley Independent reached out to Mayor Michael Collins to better understand the complexity of storm water management within municipal borders.

This is what he had to say:

•Does the Town of Paradise Valley have a serious problem regarding storm water management?

I would not consider storm water management to be a serious problem for the Town of Paradise Valley overall, although as it relates to certain individual properties or neighborhoods that are subject to flooding impacts during major storm events, one must appreciate and not underestimate the severity and impact that these families and neighbors face and the costs both financially and emotionally that a flooded property creates.

•In your view, has water flow management been overlooked over the last several years?

The town has historically placed the burden of storm water management onto its property owners, requiring them through code and ordinance to maintain washes and drainage features so as to allow for the effective movement of storm water through and across their property. The town owns and manages very few storm water conveyance facilities and most all storm water is conveyed across private property.

•What kind of liability/exposure does the town have regarding emerging water management issues specific to how private development has shifted water flows throughout town?

I think the town’s codes and ordinances are pretty clear when it comes to who is responsible for maintaining storm water conveyance features on private property. To the extent that storm water can be managed or conveyed on public property, the town is active in its evaluation of potential liability or accountability for the condition and maintenance of town-owned features.

•Have town engineers held to statewide standards regarding water flow shifts to accommodate private development?

Just as in most towns and cities, our past and present town engineers and staff have relied on outside professional engineers to evaluate and design appropriate storm water management and conveyance features on private property when properties are being developed or redeveloped. There is State of Arizona Board of Technical Registrars accountability for the designs and plans that are sealed with a professional engineers stamp and submitted to the town as a part of the plan review process. Any errors or mistakes in the design of adequate storm water conveyance or treatment on these submitted plans falls on the shoulders of the designing engineer or the contractor who constructs the project. The historical role of the town has been to ensure that submitted plans contain design solutions that meet our code and ordinance, but not to verify or confirm that the engineering on the submitted plans are error-free or accurate.

•Where is the town with its most current watershed study and how is that helping to bring into focus the issues surrounding effective water management?

Storm water studies were conducted for the Cheney and Cherokee subwatersheds, which were selected by the town because they were the two areas having the greatest number of reported cases of flooding over the past couple of years. The information provided by these studies is meant to inform staff, town council and residents of the likelihood of future flooding during projected storm events, and to what degree any potential flooding might be reduced through public investment in additional storm water infrastructure.

Editor’s note: Mr. Collins is the mayor of the Town of Paradise Valley

Independent Newsmedia Arizona Managing Editor Terrance Thornton can be contacted at tthornton@newszap.com

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