By Greg Ellison
(Feb. 13, 2020) Ocean Pines’ long-time storm water drainage problem looks to be improving, as engineering consultations and infrastructure upgrades are gradually producing a drier picture.
Director of Amenities and Operational Logistics Colby Phillips last Wednesday gave the Ocean Pines Board of Directors an update on the administration’s implementation of drainage solutions, which include replacing culvert pipes and work on ditch maintenance.
Last fall, Phillips and Public Works Director Eddie Wells began working with Vista Engineering consultants, and went on to establish a drainage workgroup with support from General Manager John Viola and the board.
“Everybody has been on board and recognizes the severity at times, especially in certain areas,” she said.
After recently replacing failing or damaged culverts on Boston Drive and Mumford’s Landing Road, the focus shifted to other problem spots, including Watertown Road, the Borderlinks Resort area, Harborview Drive and Blue Bill Court.
“Right now, we’re currently in the process of replacing the culverts and catch basins at Watertown,” she said.
While that approach will work in certain locations such as Borderlinks, other spots such as Harborview Drive and Clipper Court have never been addressed.
“There’s not a culvert pipe there now, but in working with Vista … they went out and are going to install one there to help with the drainage,” she said. “Nothing is going to fix it, but it’s going to improve.”
Other infrastructure improvements include replacing rusted metal pipes with high-density polyethylene pipe.
“Throughout Ocean Pines, we have these rusty culvert pipes,” she said. “The good thing with [HDPE pipe] they’ll last 50-plus years [and] we won’t have the rust.”
To assure the drainage flows into drainage pipes unimpeded, a ditch maintenance plan has largely been completed, Phillips said.
“These are not the ditches in front of your home,” she said. “These are the large ditches that are beside [and] behind your home.”
Ditch maintenance will be performed on a rotating basis to assure OPA-owned ditches are free of brush and debris, Phillips said.
Previewing work in the next fiscal year that starts on May 1, Phillips said the focus would be on neighborhood sections two and three, which comprise roughly 10 percent of landmass in Ocean Pines.
“This is just deemed the worst, because it affects 761 lots and three parks,” she said.
The results of a 1997 drainage study also deemed these areas, which drain through Bainbridge Pond down to Beauchamp Road, as the highest priority.
To help finance the undertaking funding is being sought with assistance from the Maryland Coastal Bays Program.
“We are applying for the Chesapeake and Coast Grant, which is a … proposal through [Worcester] County,” she said.
Phillips said the grant application would be submitted by Feb. 14 through Worcester County since Ocean Pines is a homeowner’s association and not a municipality.
The intent is to address Bainbridge Park and pond where severe flooding and groundwater overflow occur.
Solutions could include expanding the adjacent retention pond and installing one or more culverts under Beauchamp Road.
“Back in the late 2000s, they added one under there that helped significantly,” she said. “We’re looking to do a second one, and possibly a third, to help increase the runoff in that area.”
Retrofitting the retention pond in
to include outfall upgrades is also on tap.
“We’re looking to increase the water quality and outfall capacity with the retrofitting, she said.
Increased downstream flow through swales and ditches could alleviate pond overflows, which drift towards homes west of the park.
Phillips said engineering consultants had proposed raising roads west of the pond to further alleviate occurrences.
The drainage workgroup has scheduled drainage seminars on March 2, April 20 and May 12.
“We’ve been trying to keep everybody in the community educated about drainage and the things you can do [or] we need to do,” she said. “We’re trying to get ahead of it so you don’t have to call us.”
For questions about the project, contact Phillips at firstname.lastname@example.org.