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Bingen approves contract to seek Dry Creek fix

Engineer hired

Tired of the ongoing battles with water flooding over State Route 14 near Walnut Street, the city of Bingen is going to invest in an engineering fix to the problem.

On Feb. 21, the Bingen City Council voted 4-0 to approve a contract of approximately $8,000 with Bingen engineering firm Bell Design Co. to try to find a solution to the flooding issue.

The $8,000 contract covers design and planning for a solution to reduce the likelihood of flooding in the area.

On Dec. 14 last year, the culvert that carries Dry Creek under SR 14 became clogged with leaves, branches, and other debris, and the creek soon overflowed onto the highway. The water flowed downhill into a Dickey Farms packing shed, depositing mud and debris on the floor of the building and causing an unspecified amount of damages.

"We hope that by the fall of 2007, we'll be able to avoid this type of event," said Mayor Brian Prigel after the council's vote.

Stan Dickey, one of the Dickey Farms owners, has been urging the city in recent months to take action to rectify the recurring problem with flooding in the Dry Creek area.

While the SR 14 reconstruction project was ongoing, Dickey had talked with city and state officials, warning them that the road project was changing the floodplain. According to a Dickey Farms spokesperson, Dickey was told by state and city officials that the floodplain wasn't going to be altered.

Mayor Prigel said the city of Bingen planned to discuss some design issues with the Washington Department of Transportation (WDOT) that Prigel conceded have contributed to the problems at Dickey Farms.

"We are going to make contact with WDOT," Prigel said. "They do have an issue with one of the driveways and how it's sloped. We're going to ask for their advice on how to fix that driveway."

Prigel said WDOT designed the driveway in question, which contributes to the water flooding into Dickey Farms' packing shed building.

Dickey was encouraged by the city's move to bring in an engineering firm to look at the creek.

"Bell Design will hopefully do a good job and get this problem taken care of," Dickey said.

Dickey added that there were several questions he hoped would be answered in the engineering process now under way.

"We need to find out if the floodplain was altered, and find out where the water goes when Dry Creek overflows. Will it overflow onto the old floodplain or go elsewhere -- and where is elsewhere?" Dickey said. "And who is responsible for changing the floodplain? I hope Bell Design answers those questions."

Dickey said the issue was a fairly straightforward one for his business.

"I can't have water going through the building," Dickey said.

Mayor Prigel said one option the Bell Design engineers will consider is putting some type of a debris removal system farther upstream on Dry Creek, where there's more of a defined channel. Prigel explained that would be about a block or two up from where the grating is, directly north of SR 14.

"We hope to have this done by next fall," Prigel said.

The city has no estimate of the cost to construct a new system to stop debris before it reaches the SR 14 culvert.

"It's too early for that," Prigel said.

The money for the engineering study will come out of the city's community development funds, which is replenished by revenue from the city sales tax.


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