City dredging of watershed lake considered too late

By Roslyn Giles  - email | bio

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - The dredging is underway at Charter Oak's Watershed Lake in Columbus. It's the same lake where a blocked spillway sent a watershed raging into 11 homes on Teak Drive in April, 2009.  "We're dredging the watershed lake to provide more volume capacity, which in turn protects the downstream residents from flooding," says Farhad Alifarhani, Design Engineer of Columbus.

This is the city's first time removing the silt and checking the trash rack at the bottom of the lake since residents were forced out of their homes. "Before that we were not able to get into the lake itself to do the operation and then the water level was too high and we couldn't get into the structure," added Alifarhani.

Some of the residents are considering filing a lawsuit against the city.  They want to be compensated for damage the flooding caused to their homes.  Attorney Stephen Hodges says the dredging will not impact any future litigation. "I'm glad they're doing it, but I think it's too late. They had plenty of warning to do something before the flood and did nothing," says Hodges.

Hodges also says no lawsuit has been filed because the residents want to give the city a chance to, "do the right thing."

The dredging will take several weeks at a price tag of $200,000.00. It's a routine process that should occur every few years.

The next step is for a contractor to access the homes. Hodges says based on the contractor's assessment, the residents will ask the city for a specific dollar amount to offset their damage.  If they city doesn't comply, Hodges says they will file suit.

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