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Posted 12/18/2018

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By Lee Roberts
Nashville District Public Affairs

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Dec. 18, 2018) – The programs director for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Great Lakes and Ohio River Division visited Music City today to put eyes on the future site of a detention structure on Sevenmile Creek that will provide flood-risk-reduction benefits for the area.

Stephen G. Durrett, professional engineer and member of Senior Executive Service, met with Nashville District project managers, geologists and engineers to discuss the status and technical details for the planned Ellington Dry Dam to be constructed near Ellington Agricultural Center.

The project is authorized by the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act of 2016 and funded by the Supplemental Long-Term Disaster Recovery Investment Program emergency funding bill passed in July 2018. The bill provides recovery aid to cities and counties affected by the 2017 Harvey, Irma and Maria hurricanes. Since Nashville did receive significant flood damage from Tropical Storm Harvey, the Nashville District is eligible to design and construct this project along Sevenmile Creek in south Nashville. 

Durrett visited the future dry dam site with the district’s project delivery team.  He gave the team direction that included setting milestones for each facet of the project to ensure its completion on time and under its $16.9 million budget, which is cost shared between the federal government and sponsor, the city of Nashville.

He said visiting the project site helps him to understand its complexities because seeing it first hand provides a better perspective than seeing it on a map or piece of paper. He added that interaction with technical experts in the Nashville District provided him the opportunity to provide guidance while allowing the PDT direct access to ask questions about topics such as updated regulations, decision-making processes, and project timelines.

“It’s important to deliver a good quality product for the customer as fast as we can deliver it,” Durrett said.

The actual footprint of the dry dam is at Sevenmile Creek mile 3.67 just south of Hogan Road near the east entrance into Ellington Agricultural Center and just west of Edmondson Pike. The dry dam would provide a 400-acre-foot capacity storm water detention basin for when the creek rises.

Tom Herbert, Nashville District’s project manager, said having Durrett visit at this early stage of the project provided the team with the director’s insight regarding the division’s role in execution and related policy review and approvals for the detention basin project.

Herbert explained that a dry dam allows a channel to flow freely, has no permanent pool or reservoir behind it, only stores water after heavy prolonged rains, and then releases water in a controlled manner.

He said Ellington Dry Dam will provide protection for up to a 25 year flood event with one-to-two feet of flood reduction across all flood profiles up to and beyond a 500-year flood event.

“There are over 400 homes and businesses that would receive flood reduction benefits from the structure,” Herbert said.

Herbert further explained that the project is fully funded and that preconstruction engineering and design is underway. In addition, the project includes funding to raise seven homes above the 100-year flood elevation and buy outs for 38 repetitive loss homes in the Sevenmile Creek Watershed, which will provide annualized benefits of over $1.6 million.

The cost to buy and remove homes is $9.4 million while the cost of the dry dam is $7.5 million, amounting to the overall project cost of $16.9 million. The Corps of Engineers is coordinating with the state of Tennessee, city of Nashville, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on the project.

(The public can obtain news, updates and information from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District on the district’s website at http://www.lrn.usace.army.mil, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/nashvillecorps, and on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/nashvillecorps.)

Corps of Engineers Davidson County Detention Basin Dry Dam Ellington Dry Dam Emergency Funding engineering flood risk reduction Great Lakes and Ohio River Division LDRIP Long Term Disaster Recovery Investment Program Nashville Nashville District professional engineer project manager Regional Business Director Senior Executive Service Sevenmile Sevenmile Creek Sevenmile Creek Project Stephen Durrett supplemental Tennessee Tom Herbert USACE Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act of 2016 WIIN