May 20, 2011 Leave a comment
With the refreshing rain, and as a City Administrator, I am presented with things that I never thought of before. To some, it may seem obvious, but many issues in city infrastructure are so camouflaged, it takes certain events to teach new insights. Anyway, back to the rain.
Parts of Marion are served by a storm water drainage system, while other parts of town rely on surface drainage. When we get a good rain like this morning, did you know a city crew member checks the storm drains in town to make sure they are open and allowing water to drain? All the while, creek levels are monitored to the north and west of town to determine when the Luta creek inlet is closed to keep rising creek water from coming into town.
With our levee system, the majority of the water collected in town must eventually be released back into the levee stream through drainage gates on the west and south sides of town. The old Cottonwood River Channel within the levee has the potential of storing a vast amount of water, but this water must eventually go back outside the levee and on down the Cottonwood River. This “release” must coincide when the outside levee stream levels are lower than the retained water inside the levee.
Another curious event with rain concerns the power lines in town. More particularly, tree limbs that become weighted down with rain and sag closer to power lines. Not only are they closer to the lines, they are also saturated with water and create excellent grounding opportunities. Smaller limbs do not knock out sections of town, but do have the ability of creating “line loss” of electricity. This is the distribution of electrical power without the ability of the city to capture the distribution with a meter.
“So what?”, you might say. Well, next time you see a city vehicle driving in town, you might consider that the city crews may be monitoring water levels outside of town, drainage systems inside town, removing tree limbs from power lines, or checking on a variety of service requests related to the efficient maintenance of that barely visible infrastructure.