MCGEHEE, AR - The City of McGehee has experienced flooding in the residential area east of and adjacent to Black Pond Slough many times over the last 10 years. Up to 25 houses in this area have received repetitive damages of more than $1.1 million during this period. Due to the recurring nature of the floods, the City could expect annual damages in the amount of $150,000.
The proposed mitigation alternative was the construction of a detention basin on the west side of the affected subdivision. It was conceived for the storm water to flow and to be held in the 17-acre basin for a period of time instead of overflowing into the subdivision. When the slough returns to normal levels, the water in the basin would be slowly pumped back into the ditch. The Army Corps of Engineers provided information about past flooding events. The East Arkansas Planning and Development District assisted the City in preparing the application for this project.
This project has greatly reduced the flooding risk in the project area. In early January of 1999, over eight inches of rain fell in McGehee, an equivalent to the 75-year storm. As noted from a local newspaper, "Many residents breathed a sigh of relief as they realized the onslaught of water was draining away from their homes instead of steadily rising toward them, as had been the case in the past."
The Mayor of McGehee sent a letter of thanks to the Arkansas Office of Emergency Services for working with them to decrease the potential for flooding in McGehee. He stated in the letter that "had the detention facility not been in place, some 15 to 20 homes would have received damage. I was pleased that this flood control project was in place." In addition to the above benefits, infiltration into the city sewer system during flooding has been significantly reduced and damage to city streets will be minimal.