Ocean Pines, county and state officials met on Friday to discuss drainage issues within the community, and what solutions are feasible both in the near and long terms.
Operations Director Colby Phillips said she, Public Works Director Eddie Wells and Public Works Operations Manager Nobie Violante have spent significant time in recent months gathering information from homeowners and assessing the problem.
“Drainage is one of our biggest issues in Ocean Pines,” Phillips said. “We know we can’t alleviate every drainage issue, but we’re going to do everything we can to improve it.”
Phillips will present a plan of action during an Aug. 31 Ocean Pines Board meeting. Included in the plan are educational components, creation and implementation of a ditch maintenance list, and replacement of failing pipes in the community.
She, Wells and Violante also developed a longer-term plan to address major drainage problems over several phases. Phase one, scheduled to start in fiscal year 2020-2021, would include replacing four large pipes each in the Pinehurst and Sandyhook areas, and replacing two pipes in Beacon Hill. Also tentatively included in phase one are pipe replacements at the inlet and outlet of Bainbridge pond, and building a weir structure at the outfall of the pond and a larger berm around the Beacon Hill side.
Phillips said plans for additional phases are also in the works, but how much can be done each year will largely depend on the amount of available funding and manpower. Currently, Ocean Pines Public Works has three employees assigned to clean drainage ditches. The Association has also begun hiring outside contractors to help clear out the larger ditches.
She added those involved in the project went back and looked at every Ocean Pines drainage study conducted since 1997, and the group has also consulted local engineering firm Vista Design Inc.
Phillips said she and the team are aware of resident concerns.
“We hear you and we’re doing what we can,” she said. “Drainage isn’t a problem we can solve overnight, but we do have a plan and we are working hard to find solutions.”
Also present during the meeting were Association Vice President Steve Tuttle and Justin Riner of Ocean Pines Public Works, Worcester County Natural Resources Administrator Jenelle Gerthoffer, Robert Shockley of Worcester County Stormwater Management, Worcester County Deputy Director of Environmental Programs David Bradford, Worcester County Director of Environmental Programs Bob Mitchell, Tracey Gordy and Keith Lackie from the Maryland Department of Planning, Worcester County Commissioner Chip Bertino, and Pat Schrawder, representing Maryland Sen. Mary Beth Carozza.