The Flood Problem
SURREY DRIVE AND WINDSONG LANE
Windsong Lane and Surrey Drive are home to dozens of Escambia County residents, many of whom have been flooded in both major events like the April 2014 Flood and Hurricane Sally and by the less intense but comparatively frequent storms that hit Escambia County several times per year.
Between the two roads is a stormwater pond that should help to address the problem. But it doesn’t, because it lacks a positive outfall to remove excess water and hasn’t been maintained. Instead, in heavy rain events the pond fills up and floods the same homes it’s supposed to protect.
This problem has been inadvertently exacerbated by two things:
The Florida Department of Transportation is widening nearby Nine Mile Road. Poorly controlled runoff from the site raised the pond’s height, blocked roadways, and found its way into the neighborhood’s yards.
A borrow pit (used for storage of construction materials and mining of soil) at the southern end of Surrey Drive has poor sediment control. When it rains, mud runs from the pit site into the neighborhood and eventually ends up in the pond, reducing its ability to hold stormwater and allow it to drain back into the ground.
Meet our Neighborhood Leader: Tommy Thomason
Tommy Thomason loves his house and his neighborhood. But after flooding twice in recent years, he decided something needed to be done. He’s joined Flood Defenders to find a solution for himself and his neighbors.
"Escambia County Citizens depend on our elected officials to implement and enforce effective stormwater management. The threat of future flooding can no longer be ignored!"
What We're Working on Now
When the Florida Department of Transportation began widening Nine Mile Road last spring, residents didn’t expect that it would make flood problems worse. Unfortunately, runoff from the site wasn’t controlled properly. This meant that water ran into the Surrey Drive drainage system rather than into the FDOT drainage system, putting pressure on the neighborhood’s already overloaded pond.
With the help of Flood Defenders Technical Advisor Chris Curb, Tommy was able to get through to County engineering staff, who helped to explain the issue and need for correction to FDOT. In response to pressure from the County, Flood Defenders, and Tommy, FDOT corrected drainage on their site, fixing their piece of the problem.
On the southern end of the neighborhood, a local construction company needs to make a relatively simple fix: install sediment fencing to keep mud and dirt from washing into the pond.
What We're Working on Now
Escambia County’s stormwater pond adjacent to Surrey Drive was constructed without an outfall. This means that when the pond fills up, there is nowhere for the water to go. Overflows flood the homes, garages, yards, and streets in the neighborhood.
The County violated its own Land Development Code when it built the pond - public ponds are required to have an outfall to remove water. In addition, the pond has not been maintained properly, in part because of a shortage of maintenance staff (learn more about Escambia’s staff shortage in this video). This makes flooding even worse.
Send a letter to Commissioner Lumon May below demanding that the county enforce its stormwater rules, commit to repairing the pond and installing the missing outfall, and provide the funding for the project. We've provided an email, but you can customize it by adding your own experiences or uploading a photo of flood damage at your house.
What We'll Do Next
Once the County Commission has committed to repair the pond and install the outfall, we’ll make sure it actually gets done promptly. Formal “design” by County engineering staff is needed to begin construction, but it shouldn’t take longer than a few months. We’ll keep the county on track - residents on Surrey Drive and Windsong Lane can’t afford for this project to get held up.