ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Howard County Executive Calvin Ball today announced that efforts under the enhanced stream debris removal program, part of the Ellicott City Safe and Sound plan, were completed this week after Tropical Storm Ophelia swept through the region. Since the storm, crews from Howard EcoWorks and the Department of Public Works have inspected more than 50 sites across the watershed and removed approximately 2,000 pounds of debris. Video of debris removal work following the storm can be found here.
Thanks to our diligent partners in the EC Safe and Sound Plan, we are able to address storm debris quickly and mitigate further issues from clogs and flooding in an efficient and effective manner. This proactive inspection and removal program prevents debris from piling up and increasing our risk of serious problems and damage. It has proven very valuable to remain vigilant and stay on top of these potential hazards.
The enhanced stream debris removal program, as part of the EC Safe and Sound Plan, mandates that more than 50 inspection points along 9 waterways are inspected within 3 business days any time the County has a rainfall of two inches or greater in a 24-hour period, or after an hour of sustained winds more than 30 mph. Crews then have 14 business days to remove debris.
These Safe and Sound events are a great opportunity for us to put regular eyes on the streams, which we think is extremely important. We have definitely seen improvements over the years in the amount of debris that accumulates at the constriction points after each storm event through this proactive, rather than reactive, approach to management.
When County Executive Ball took office in December 2018, streams were only inspected for debris on a quarterly basis. The enhanced stream debris removal program was one of the first initiatives announced under the Safe and Sound plan to reduce the risk of debris causing flooding during severe weather events. During the last four years, nearly 40 tons of debris have been removed from county waterways in and around Ellicott City to ensure the ongoing safety of residents, business owners and visitors.
To follow the progress of inspections and debris removal, please visit www.ecsafeandsound.org.