Germantown homeowner says school, road construction causing dangerous water runoff

GERMANTOWN, TN (WMC) – A Germantown homeowner says construction along Forest Hill Irene Road combined with Wednesday night’s heavy rain has made her property unsafe.

Lafleur provided WMC Action News 5 with video she took of a drainage easement in front of her house Wednesday night during the storm. Reduced to a manageable flow Thursday, that was not the case roughly 12 hours ago. In the video you can see her husband trying to push items out of the way. The video also shows a swift current.

“We’ve been complaining about this and worried about this since the whole thing began,” said Lafleur.

Blocks away, the Germantown Municipal School District is constructing Forest Hill Elementary. In late 2018, the city of Germantown’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen approved a $6 million reconstruction plan for part of Forest Hill Irene, from Winchester to Poplar Pike. The plan includes a widening of the road along with sidewalks and bike lanes.

Lafleur said when she and her husband bought the property they knew it had a city drainage easement which never presented any problems. She said the drainage issues started once the work began, and it centers around a drainage basin, which sits right off the road and quickly fills up. Lafleur said it is a safety hazard.

Lafleur told WMC Action News 5 other neighbors are also concerned. We knocked on doors along that stretch of Forest Hill Irene Thursday but found many residents were not at home.

WMC Action News 5 reached out to the city of Germantown. A spokesperson wrote in a statement that city engineering staff went out to inspect the site Thursday.

“Following social media reports of flooding along Forest Hill Irene Road earlier today, City engineering staff inspected the area and found that even after over three inches of rain fell in just four hours, the current drainage infrastructure performed properly, despite construction in the area. However, due to the large amount of rain over a short period, water did collect outside standard flow lines,” wrote Jessica Comas, Marketing and Communications Manager for the city of Germantown.

“This amount of rain in such a short period is considered a major storm event and the ground in the area is at 100 percent saturation,” Comas continued, “Erosion control measures required by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) to prevent sediment from collecting in existing storm drains diverted some of the water away from storm drains. The drainage and erosion control systems in the area did function properly and there was no property damage. Additional system improvements are scheduled to be installed before the road widening project is finished.”

The city expects to finish the portion along Forest Hill Elementary in time for the 2019-2020 school year, with the whole project complete by January 2020.

Lafleur said Thursday afternoon city officials came to her property and spoke to her about the excess water.

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