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Council agrees to dig into drainage problem behind homes on Manor Drive.

Council agrees to dig into drainage problem behind homes on Manor Drive.

At their last meeting of the City Council, Riverdale Council Members agreed that it was time to look a little closer at the drainage problems causing sink holes to develop in the back yards of several residents in the 200 block of Manor Drive.

The issue was presented as a motion to direct staff to inspect the clogged drainage line behind 234 Manor Drive and then discern the size and shape of the storm water lines running through the back yards and to the main line under Fieldcrest Road (to the north).Once the size and nature of the problem can be determined, staff will work with the City Engineer to estimate a cost to repair the damage.

After the cost and scope of work is estimated, the mayor said he’ll sit down with residents and talk through the options available to them.  “It’s too early to know just who is involved or what a repair might cost,” explained the Mayor. “But it’s not going to get any cheaper – so the Council decided it was better to take this matter head-on now rather than wait for things to get much worse down the road.”

The drainage lines do not appear on any maps of sanitary or storm water sewer maps in the City’s archives. “It looks like this might have been something the residents did on their own,” explained the Mayor. “And if that’s the case, and the lines were never conveyed to the City, then there’s not much we can (or should) do.”

“On the other hand,” he continued. “If we don’t, at the very least, work with residents to find out what’s wrong and what it will take to fix things, property values in the neighborhood could suffer in the long haul and that hurts everyone.”

Investigative work in the neighborhood is expected to occur this summer.

For more information on this project, click here for the initial story


Sinkholes appearing in backyards signals drainage issues for Riverdale residents

Sinkholes appearing in backyards signals drainage issues for Riverdale residents

Sinkholes appear to line up along a slight depression in the ground indicating an underground drainage line of some sort.

Last year, Riverdale resident, Jim Beran, asked the City Council to look into a problem he was having with storm water backflowing into his home from the drainage system installed behind his house. The resulting inspection, conducted by MSA Professional Services, estimated the problem could extend to a number of homes along Manor Drive running from 210 Manor to 266 Manor. The estimated cost of repair (preliminary, at best) was in excess of $11,000.

It was also determined, after the City hired a lawyer to look into it further, that the drainage lines behind the homes on Manor Drive were never conveyed to the City and, as a result, were not the City’s responsibility to keep repaired and operational. It was determined in the fall that the City would wait until sometime in 2020 to investigate the matter further.

The heavy downpour on March 27th changed that.

Sinkholes have now appeared in more backyards along at least one of the drainage lines and it now appears the City will need to act sooner rather than later.

The Mayor and City Council will discuss a possible plan of action at the next regular meeting of the Council on April 14th and determine what efforts should be made to fully define the extent of the problem and the location of one or more drainage lines running between the homes that back up to each other along Manor and Circle Drives.

Sinkholes appear near many of the small manhole covers providing access to the drainage line running behind homes along Manor Drive.

(Updated) Manor Drive Residential Drainage Line repair estimated – could run as high as $11,300.

(Updated) Manor Drive Residential Drainage Line repair estimated – could run as high as $11,300.

A photo of the sinkhole discovered near the malfunctioning drain line on Manor Hill.

(Updated 10-09-19) This past weekend, a sinkhole appeared next to one of the small manholes located near the original source of concern on this project. The City’s maintenance person visited the site on Monday and set out some cones to make residents aware of the anomaly.

In the meantime, the City continues its search to determine the owner of the drain line so repairs can be made. Despite claims made at Tuesday night’s City Council meeting (that no one will ever find any paperwork saying who owns the drain line), the City will look through its records and records filed with the county to see if there are any records of the conveyance of the drain line to the City.

If there are no records of a conveyance, then the drain line belongs to the residents to which it’s connected and, subsequently, their responsibility to maintain. Failure or refusal to do so may carry consequences for the owner, not to mention inconveniences to both the owner and his/her neighbors.

While it’s not entirely clear what the City’s role in remediating this problem, should the owner refuse or neglect to address things in a timely manner, action is already being taken to make a determination in that regard.

Please continue to follow this story on the City’s website for future updates.

(Updated 10-01-19) The City’s engineering firm, MSA Professional Services, has provided a letter summarizing this problem and estimated costs for repair.

According to MSA’s Chris Cooper, it’s been determined the rear yard drainage line in question is plugged and only effecting one household in the neighborhood. The recommendation is to hydro-jet the line and then inspect it with a camera in an attempt to identify the cause of the problem. The estimated cost to do this is $1,200 – $1,500. According to MSA, further repairs to the line could run as much as an additional $4,500.

Ownership of the line still remains to be determined. If the line is not owned by the City, effected residents may want to only repair the line as outlined above. If the City of Riverdale owns the line, MSA recommends replacement of the line from 234 to 250 Manor Drive as the first phase of a larger program to reconstruct the line all the way to Fieldcrest Road.

It is the engineer’s assessment that much of the line is in very poor condition and will need to be replaced at some point in the future. The cost of such a project starts at around $11,300. Additional time and materials required to obtain waivers and repair, re-seed and blanket the land disturbed by the project has not been estimated at this time.

A copy of the letter from MSA to the City of Riverdale can be found by clicking here.

(Original Post 09-13-19) At its September 10th meeting, the City of Riverdale’s City Council asked MSA Professional Services to look into a drainage issue affecting the rear yards of several residents on Circle and Manor Drives.

A preliminary investigation of the problem (summarized in this memo to the City Council), led to the request.

Meanwhile, the City is currently looking into records of development in the area to determine who actually owns the line that appears to be clogged. Once ownership/responsibility for maintenance is determined, the City will sit down with residents to walk through the various options available to address the problem and repair the drain line.