Drainage issue revisited

A stretch of dry weather has left a block of Fourth Street South just east of Fourth Avenue South in the city of Princeton dry for much of the latter part of June. But if there is ever heavy rain, a pool of water could form again on the street.

At least that happened after rains in mid-June. Since then, the city council, an engineer and the public works director have been examining how to prevent water pooling on the street, as that deteriorates the pavement.

The council now may have found at least a temporary and partial fix for the problem after discussing it again last Thursday, June 28. The council originally took up the issue on June 14.

After discussing it June 28 with consulting WSB & Associates engineer Mike Nielson, the council authorized Nielson to get a cost estimate for some drainage work. If the council decides to do it, the work would include installing a drainage catch basin at the corner of Fourth Avenue and Fourth Street. The other part would be to run a drainage tile from below the low spot on the block of Fourth Street between Fourth Avenue and Third Avenue, and west to the proposed catch basin.

Patty Ross, who lives at 306 4th St. adjacent to the north side of Fourth Street and its low spot, commented on the situation at the June 28 council meeting.

Ross contended that the city let the drainage problem happen when a city worker plugged the storm drain pipe some years ago that had been draining her property.

Nielson did not deny that the city did that but explained the history behind it. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, probably about a dozen years ago, ordered cities to disconnect any storm sewer lines where they might be connected to sanitary sewer lines, Nielson said. Therefore, he continued, city workers disconnected the storm sewer line on the property Ross is on, from the sanitary sewer line and then plugged the storm sewer line.

Council members, including member Victoria Hallin, questioned what happened there, saying that sometimes the state will have some money for mandates but that it is not enough to go around.

Nielson explained that installing a catch basin and drainage pipe to deal with much of the drainage problem would postpone a more costly but permanent measure for now. He suggested that the drainage pipe be large enough so water does not sit frozen in it when drainage issues appear in the spring.

As for who would pay for either the temporary fix or the permanent one, Nielson mentioned that there would likely be some assessment to benefiting property owners. If the street deteriorates from too much standing water, then a project would have to be done to reconstruct it, he said.