published: Friday, September 27, 2013
County starts pumping flooded LP area
By BARRY FOSTER
LAKE PLACID -- Even as the rains began to fall again, crews from the Highlands County Road and Bridge Department began pumping Thursday morning in an effort to reduce flooding in the Highlands Park neighborhood.
The county-owned 6-inch pump is designed to move as much as 1,500 gallons per minute in an effort to push the water more quickly in the direction of Lake Istokpoga.
County officials had to wait for approval from the Southwest Florida Water management district before they could proceed with the action. They didn't get that word until late Wednesday afternoon
The accumulation of water has displaced several families from their houses in the area. The hope is that by pumping down a low-lying area now referred to as "the pond," a trickle-down effect will occur which in turn will lower water levels on nearby Washington Boulevard.
Highlands County Road and Bridge Department Director Kyle Green said staff gauges have been installed to help monitor the progress of the pumping activity. However, Thursday morning he did not hold out much hope for a quick fix.
"It will surprise me if we see any effects before I have to report back to the commissioners at their meeting next Tuesday," he said.
It took Highlands County commissioners nearly two hours Tuesday night to come to a decision on a plan that will involve temporary pumping, the digging of swales and placing of culverts, as well as negotiations with the water management districts.
"We cannot do any of this recommended work without their approval and we have been working with both the South and Southwest Florida water management districts," Green said.
Green said that even with approval from the water management district, no digging can start until a significant amount of water has been moved out of the area.
The entire project will be funded with assessments from the Highlands Park Special Taxing District. Over the course of the years, residents in the community have assessed themselves a little more than $262,000.
Some of that money reportedly was to have been spent on a clubhouse, however speculation is that most or all of it will go to help solve the water problem that has been plaguing the area as storms have battered the county since the beginning of the summer.
Small Banner Ads