Fairfield’s eroding creek banks pose threat to roads, utilities

Residents asked for input on possible Pleasant Run Creek watershed issues.

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Fairfield city officials are asking residents for assistance in identifying concerns and problems within the Pleasant Run Creek watershed that could lead to future mitigation projects.

The end goal is to have a project that would stabilize and slow, if not stop, erosion along a portion of the Pleasant Run Creek, which runs across the city of Fairfield and into the Great Miami River just west of Waterworks Park.

The city has published through its website an 11-question survey that can be found on the Fairfield-City.org homepage.

Types of questions asked range from if the creek runs near or through their property, if they had tried to prevent any water-related issues, and if they have any green infrastructures, like gardens or bioswales. There also is an opportunity for residents to share issues and concerns.

Pleasant Run Creek’s eroding banks have a large source of sediment and associated materials after entering the Great Miami River. It eventually makes its way to the Ohio River, Mississippi River and Gulf of Mexico, according to the city’s Ohio EPA grant application.

Remediation efforts also would protect public assets, including roads, utilities and other critical infrastructure. Eroded creek banks could shift the ground, leading to shifts under roadways where some public utilities are located. Shifting ground could compromise water mains, gas lines and stormwater conduits.

The Ohio EPA awarded Fairfield a grant to develop a strategic plan to identify remediation options. The survey is part of that strategic planning process, which costs $10,000. The Ohio EPA is funding most of the planning project, last year awarding the city with a $7,500 grant. The remainder is Fairfield’s local match requirement.

“The purpose of the grant is to identify at least one project eligible for future EPA construction funding,” said Public Works Director Ben Mann. “Our intent is to pick one good project near Creekside Park, where access is feasible and additional easements needed are minimal.”

Mann said they had looked at the creek in its entirety before examining a few sections, but mostly it was the part close to the Great Miami River where the most water collects and gets the most turbulent.

Fairfield had performed a watershed assessment, including identifying and scoring all the Pleasant Run Creek branches, looking at factors like bends, erosion levels and proximity to schools and parks. He said creek bank erosion is probably the main component.

“Depending on how well the project scores for future EPA grant rounds, we may be able to take the information gained from the survey and get funding for additional studies and additional projects,” he said.

The Creekside Park area was once known for flooding, including the 2003 Father’s Day flood that resulted in the flooding of several homes on Banker and Crystal drives, and the surrounding roads. A little more than 10 years ago, the city completed an extensive mitigation project with a Federal Emergency Management Agency grant that awarded Fairfield more than $2.7 million to remove flood-prone homes in the neighborhood off Nilles Road.

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