In the wake of this week’s heavy rains, which caused unexpected flooding throughout the parish, HNTB is asking the public for input on the flooding and drainage issues they’ve observed and experienced over the past few days.
The engineering firm is seeking the information as it compiles data for the Stormwater Master Plan—a $15 million assessment of the entire drainage system in East Baton Rouge Parish that, when completed in late 2022, will identify problem spots and potential solutions, though it will not fund any of them.
HNTB Vice President Bryan Jones says getting information in real time will help enable the team to develop more accurate computer models that will be more effective in predicting future trouble spots.
“When our technical team is developing the various models for the different watersheds in the parish, they can reference back to the May 2021 flood at a given address and correlate that with rainfall totals in a given area and reference that in the model,” Jones says.
Specifically, HNTB is asking the public to document what is happening in their neighborhoods and homes, including roads, yards, and nearby canals. Information and photos should be emailed along with contact information, name and address to email@example.com.
“It’s important for people to understand that we won’t be able to get their house repaired,” Jones says. “But any photos and information will be beneficial to the development of the Storm Water Master Plan and could help with future flooding.”
The Stormwater Master Plan is one of several projects funded by a $84 million Hazard Mitigation Grant awarded to the city-parish by FEMA after the 2016 flood.
But even if it were already completed, it is still only a plan that identifies flood mitigation projects for the future.
Several other much-needed drainage projects have already been identified and are either funded through separate federal funding streams or are awaiting approval for funding from the state’s Watershed Initiative program.
But none of them has been developed yet.