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The Daily Review/Bill Decker
Gauges like this one near Red Cypress Road help engineers identify flooding problem areas in Patterson.

Patterson moves closer to flood control answers

PATTERSON — The City Council could learn as early as next month what it will take to cure some of the flooding that afflicted the city in 2019.
Data collection on the way storm water flows in Patterson is complete and has been entered into a computer model, reported Melanie Caillouet, P.E., at Tuesday’s council meeting.
The model is also complete and is identifying areas where drainage is a problem.
“We are evaluating projects that would provide better drainage in those areas,” wrote Caillouet, who works with consulting engineers Providence Engineering.
In a phone interview, Caillouet said Providence could have some potential solutions ready for the city government in time for the Feb. 2 council meeting.
Strangely enough, a stretch of dry weather at the end of the year slowed the process, she said. The analysis was based on the way water is flowing, and there was no water to flow.
But a lack of rain was a very different problem from the difficulties faced by east St. Mary residents in 2019.
Flooding in the North kept the Mississippi River above flood stage for nearly two-thirds of the year, leading officials to open the Bonnet Carre’ Spillway twice in the same year for the first time since its construction in the 1920s.
The added volume in the Atchafalaya led to back-flooding, the sinking of a barge to relieve flooding in the Bayou Chene area and a freshwater influx that reduced the shrimp catch
Farther west, in Morgan City, Berwick, Bayou Vista and Patterson, the problems were worsened by lunch-time downpours in April and June, flooding streets and pushing water into homes.
That put local officials to work on reducing storm flooding that has, by all accounts, grown worse in recent years.
Patterson deployed eight staff gauges around the city to collect information on water depths and water flow.
That data, fed into the computer model, is the basis for identifying the problem areas and developing solutions.
How much those solutions will cost depends on what the model finds.
Any remedy that includes boring under U.S. 90 is likely to be expensive, Caillouet said.
“Some of the things might just be redigging ditches,” she said.
Berwick has also been working on flood problems after the June flash flood put water in 39 homes in Country Club Estates Subdivision.
The town government came up with the plan that included improving a ditch, which was quickly completed. The next steps involve more expensive measures, such as installing better storm drains.
The town government is awaiting the results of its application for grant funding for the more expensive work.

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