ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Howard County Executive Calvin Ball today broke ground on the third and largest constructed stormwater retention pond to date under his Ellicott City Safe and Sound plan, the H-4 Pond. Pictures from the event can be found here.

Ellicott City endured recent catastrophic floods in 2011, 2016 and 2018. After taking office in 2018, following the most recent deadly flood, Ball tasked his administration to develop a comprehensive solution for Ellicott City flood control and identify creative funding options. Components of the Ellicott City Safe and Sound Plan include:

  • Five large-scale water retention projects; 
  • major water conveyance projects;
  • Enhanced stream inspections and debris removal;
  • Tone alert warning system and high-ground signage; and
  • Drainage improvements throughout the watershed.

The full plan can be found here

Since establishing our Ellicott City Safe and Sound flood mitigation plan, we have pushed to build this long-needed stormwater infrastructure. The third of seven major public works projects to commence construction under our plan, the H-4 Pond is another giant leap in securing our historic town’s resiliency and the community’s protection for years to come.

Calvin Ball
Howard County Executive

The pond will be constructed along the north side of Frederick Road just west of US 29 and, weather permitting, is expected to be completed by late September 2025. Once complete, the H-4 Pond will have the capacity to retain roughly five and a half million gallons of stormwater, which would otherwise flow directly into the Tiber-Hudson River and down to Main Street.

“The H-4 project is an important part of the Ellicott City Safe and Sound Program and a great example of investing in floodwater mitigation that is crucial to safeguarding our communities against the impacts of climate change,” said Yosef Kebede, Director, Department of Public Works.

This nearly $4 million project is supported by $1.32 million in local funding from Howard County Government and a $2.64 million in State funding through the Comprehensive Flood Management Grant administered by the Maryland Department of the Environment.

We are proud to be part of the Ellicott City Safe and Sound Project and provide financial support through our Comprehensive Flood Management Grant Program. This project demonstrates our collective commitment to building resilient communities at a time when climate change carries the threat of more and more severe weather.

Serena McIlwain
Secretary, Maryland Department of the Environment

“Ellicott City is an important historic and economic resource for Howard County and the State of Maryland, and I am pleased to see this next step of the Ellicott City Safe and Sound Plan move forward,” said Clarence Lam, Maryland State Senator. “As the Senate Chair of the Howard County Delegation, my legislative colleagues and I have consistently supported this plan, including helping secure over $2.5 million of critical state funds for this H-4 stormwater retention pond project.”

“We have worked to seek state funding from every possible source and are grateful for the millions of dollars in support from the Comprehensive Flood Management Fund, a previously defunct state fund that Senator Hester and I were able to resurrect our first year in office in 2019,” said Courtney Watson, Maryland State Delegate. “We thank County Executive Calvin Ball for his tremendous commitment to the Safe and Sound plan which is responsible for the progress to date.”

In October of 2022, Howard County completed construction of the H-7 pond located at the interchange of Routes 29 and 40; followed by the Quaker Mill Pond at the intersection of Rogers Avenue and Patapsco River Road in February of 2023. Together, these two facilities have the capacity to collect and control the release of 7.5 million gallons of water during a storm. The completion of the H-4 pond will add another 5.5 million gallons of water capacity, which will bring total retention to approximately 13 million gallons of water during severe storms - equivalent to a football field filled with water that is 30 feet deep.

“As a small business and property owner on Historic Main Street, I support the County’s ongoing efforts to provide flood solutions that will safeguard Old Ellicott City, its businesses, and its visitors for the future,” said Maria Martinez, Owner, Primitive Beginnings. “Projects such as the H4 pond and the two completed stormwater ponds are instilling confidence in business owners and visitors, encouraging them to invest in the area and feel secure when visiting OEC.”

As part of the design for the H-4 pond, a portion of the site will be excavated to provide the required water storage and a concrete weir structure will be constructed to control the release of water from the pond. The remainder of the site will remain wooded. The project will also include the replacement of an existing 60-inch corrugated metal pipe downstream of the facility and a plunge pool at the pipe outfall to provide for erosion protection. Weather permitting, the project is expected to be completed and operational by late September 2025

“Shortly after the floods, when patrons asked about our flood mitigation efforts, I used to respond, 'Well, we have implemented a heavy praying strategy, and it has been working so far,'” said Majd Al Ghatrif, Co-Owner, Syriana Cafe & Restaurant. “Since then, we have come a long way. We are now thankful for the tangible flood mitigation projects that have been implemented. These efforts will make our community and businesses safer and set us on the path to thrive.”

As the H-4 pond progresses, so do the remaining components of the EC Safe and Sound Plan. The NC-3 and T-1 retention ponds as well as the Maryland Avenue Culverts project are all currently in design and advancing toward construction.

“Starting my business in Historic Ellicott City after two floods and a pandemic was a risk. However, I was confident county leaders would recognize the importance of this community and invest in sustainable solutions to keep it thriving. We are already seeing the benefits of their work,” said Alli Krist, Owner, Backwater Books.

“Every next step that’s taken to help alleviate the threat of devastating flooding on Main Street is a crucial one,” said Julia Sanger, President, Ellicott City Partnership. “We are honored to be a part of the process and grateful to all who came together to make it possible.”

Later this month, Ball will join local and state leaders to break ground on the highly anticipated North Tunnel project. The North Tunnel is a water conveyance project that will have the capacity to move 26,000 gallons of water per second once complete. The mile-long underground tunnel will be 18-feet in diameter and run from the West End area of Ellicott City, all the way to the Patapsco River. The project will reduce the risk of flash flooding by intercepting water and diverting it underground and away from Main Street. 

Media Contacts
Safa Hira, Director of Communications

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