NEW PORT RICHEY — As county officials continue to slog through solutions to long-term flooding problems in Trinity's Thousand Oaks, neighborhood leaders learned this week that a key fix could take up to eight months before construction even starts.
That project is a new swale behind the CVS pharmacy at the corner of Seven Springs and Mitchell boulevards. The structure would connect culverts under each road.
Officials said the project is critical regardless of what other improvements are made upstream. Much of the basin's water flows through that point, which one county official called "choked."
The work requires a permit from the Southwest Florida Water Management District and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Design and permitting could take eight months. Construction cost is estimated at $600,000.
During a meeting on Monday, a handful of representatives from homeowners groups also got an update about short-term maintenance efforts at various points on the Duck Slough basin.
The county has been working over the past few weeks with homeowners groups to clean culverts and other structures at various points along the basin. Homeowners associations are largely responsible for such work, but some groups put it off for several years.
"It's incumbent on the Thousand Oaks associations to stay on top of their master association to clean everything up," said Ron Levi, president of the nearby Trinity Oaks Property Owners Association.
Officials stressed that the improvements would be designed to protect homes and major streets in the event of a so-called 100-year flood. They wouldn't protect against a replay of Tropical Storm Debby, which brought a deluge of more than 15 inches in a 24-hour period followed by several more storms in the next few days.
"We could have another Debby down the road and have a similar situation," said Chief Assistant County Administrator Michele Baker. In such a scenario, proposed improvements would help ponds drain faster and reduce the time streets and yards are flooded.
Residents postponed narrowing down a list of proposed solutions until the county's consultant finishes a detailed model of the Duck Slough basin. That would determine how the system operates in today's conditions and would help officials understand how changes would affect water drainage.
The alternatives focus on either constructing a ditch through a series of wetlands in the basin or building a "bypass" system to route water west along Mitchell Boulevard.
Lee Logan can be reached at email@example.com or (727) 869-6236.