AECOM presents solutions for flooding

Hannah Grover

AZTEC — More than a year after a storm caused more than $1 million of property damage here, representatives of a global engineering firm presented possible solutions to prevent future flooding during a public meeting tonight.

Jim DeAngelo, left, a mitigation project leader with AECOM, and Sherrick Campbell, a water resource engineer with AECOM, walk along the Blanco Arroyo near East Blanco Street in Aztec on Feb. 25.

Engineers from AECOM, which was hired by Aztec officials to perform drainage studies and provide suggestions for possible mitigation projects, recommended systems of culverts, detention basins and channels to mitigate flooding in the Blanco, Kokopelli and Hampton arroyo areas. On Aug. 26, 2015, more than four inches of precipitation fell on northeast San Juan County, causing widespread flooding and power outages. The storm led to Aztec schools being canceled as the district evaluated the damage while residents worked to shovel the sediment from sidewalks, businesses and houses.

"Flooding is a risk," said Jim DeAngelo, the hazard mitigation lead for AECOM. "It could be a very bad morning when you wake up and realize your paper got washed down the street or it could be, 'Hey, how am I going to get home? There's water on the road.'"

DeAngelo said the mitigation will solve "part of your problem today and part of your problem tomorrow."

"We're looking forward to what might happen, not necessarily looking backward to what did happen," he said.

The suggested infrastructure in the Blanco area will cost an estimated $700,000 to $1.3 million, while the infrastructure in the Kokopelli and Hampton areas will cost between $600,000 and $1.1 million. And that does not include what the city will have to pay to acquire rights of way needed for the detention basins, culverts and channels, Marc McIntosh, lead engineer for AECOM, told residents.

AECOM Water Resource Engineer Sherrick Campbell takes photos of the Blanco Arroyo Feb. 25 near East Blanco Street in Aztec.

AECOM will prepare preliminary design of the recommended projects that the city can use as it looks for funding options for the mitigation.

Jim DeAngelo, hazard mitigation lead for AECOM in the southwest region, described the drawings as a "little more than a back-of-an-envelope or napkin drawing."

Some of the suggestions to mitigate drainage issues are already being implemented. City Engineer William Watson said the public works department will begin installing a 36-inch culvert Monday beside an existing 24-inch culvert on Sabena Street.

DeAngelo encouraged residents to continue talking about ways to mitigate flooding.

"It's going to take patience," he said. "It's going to take time. It's going to take money."

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652.