Sussex to improve Oak Crest Farms drainage

County calls in $410,000 letter of credit
Oak Crest Farms is a large development of single-family homes located off Beaver Dam Road. BY RON MACARTHUR
February 22, 2013

Oak Crest Farms residents could get relief from the stormwater drainage problems that for years have plagued the community off Beaver Dam Road near Lewes. Sussex County officials called in a letter of credit held by PNC Bank for Oak Crest Farms Inc. for $410,000 to complete and repair the community’s stormwater management system.

At its Feb. 19 meeting, Sussex County Council approved a county engineering department request to apply for a matching planning grant up to $21,000 to the Delaware Clean Water Council to get the project off the ground.

During Phase 3 of construction, the developer failed to complete infrastructure projects, forcing the county to take action. All but two of the 175 lots in the community have been developed over the past decade. PNC contacted the county in June 2011 that the letter of credit would not renewed.

County Project Manager Julie Cooper said the stormwater system was not installed according to plans causing flooding inside and outside the community. She said only one of two stormwater pumps was installed and grading in the community’s three stormwater ponds was not done properly.

County Engineer Mike Izzo said regional drainage complicates problems in the community. “We need some place for water to go,” he said, adding that water does not drain quickly and naturally and has to be pumped to a nearby branch. The pumping system has to be upgraded, he said.

Izzo said he is not sure there will be enough money to complete all the work that needs to be done outside of the stormwater management project. He said the community also has problems with swales, failing pipes and pot holes. “I’m concerned we’ll not have enough to do it all,” he said.

Cooper said the final costs will not be known until the bidding process.

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