Water that’s not a hazard

Two golf courses to use storm runoff from county road

One Washington County city has developed a way to re-use storm water runoff from roads that’s a hole-in-one to county officials.

As part of the 2013 Woodbury Drive widening project in south Woodbury, storm runoff water from the improved stretch of road will be drained to holding ponds on two Woodbury golf courses. The two courses will then use the nutrient-rich runoff water to irrigate the courses.

By doing that, a Washington Public Works official said the county does not have to acquire sizable right-of-way to construct storm water runoff ponds, the Washington County Board of Commissioners were told Tuesday.

WPW Engineering and Construction Manager Cory Slagle discussed the Woodbury Drive storm water drainage plan during a presentation that was part of a consultant contract amendment request to cover increased engineering costs on the $11.1 million project. The county and city will share costs of the project, which starts in May and will be finished in springs 2014.

Commissioners approved the nearly $282,000 contract amendment with HR Green Co. following Slagle’s presentation.

Woodbury Drive will be widened to four lanes from Park Crossing to just south of Bailey Road. Roundabouts will be construct at Woodbury Drive intersections with Lake and Bailey roads, Slagle said.

Both roundabouts will have two lanes entering northbound and southbound from Woodbury Drive, but one lane eastbound and westbound from Lake Road, Slagle said. The project also includes additional pedestrian trails and crossings that meet American With Disabilities standards, he added.

The biggest challenge facing project planners were requests from homeowners living along Woodbury Drive that the county avoid acquiring portions of their property for rights-of-way, according to Slagle.

“We have been working with the city and citizens for two years,” he said. “We want to make sure it was safe to vehicles to pull out (from side streets) on to Woodbury Drive.”

To address the residents’ concerns about ROW acquisition, that section of Woodbury Drive will have 11-foot lanes and slightly narrower shoulders and medians, Slagle said.

The narrow right-of-way meant the county did not have enough land for runoff ponds, Slagle said. That’s when Woodbury City Engineer Klayton Eckles proposed sending the runoff to Eagle Valley Golf Course and Prestwick Country Club, Slagle added.

“It was the first we had heard of it,” he said about the idea. But he added that it makes sense.

“Storm water that comes off (roads) is rich in phosphorus,” he said. “It’s good for growing (vegetation).”

But that same storm water runoff is what causes algae blooms when it drains into area lakes, Slagle said. Draining runoff to ponds at Eagle Valley G.C. and Prestwick C.C. provides the courses with irrigation water so they are not using city water and limits runoff into Bailey and Colby lakes and eventually, the St. Croix River.

“They were on board with this. That’s a lot of water. That’s water they (golf courses) don’t have to pull out of the aquifer,” he said. The courses will pay for construction of the holding ponds and equipment to pump the water, he added.

The idea to reuse Woodbury Drive storm water runoff caught the attention of one commissioner.

“Is this something we would do in the future? I like this idea,” said Commissioner Gary Kriesel. “I just want to be sure there is some cost-share on this. I’m OK with this.”