Posted Online: June 21, 2011, 8:53 pm

University drainage project should alleviate 'Lake Ambrose'

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By Lindsay Hocker, lhocker@qconline.com

Photo: Lindsay Hocker
St. Ambrose University director of the physical plant Jim Hannon gave a tour of the university's Stormwater Management Project on Tuesday afternoon. The $1.8 million project will alleviate flooding issues in St. Ambrose's Cosgrove parking lot and on Locust Street. Before the tour, Paul Loete of MSA Professional Services presented an overview of the project.
DAVENPORT -- A $1.8 million drainage project at St. Ambrose University isunder way and should alleviate flooding problems the university community refers to as "Lake Ambrose."

Paul Loete of MSA Professional Services presented an overview of the project during the Partners of Scott County Watersheds' monthly educational lunch forum. Mr.Loete is MSA's project engineer/office manager, and he designed the project.

Mr.Loete said it addresses serious drainage issues in the Crosgrove parking lot and on Locust Street during periods of rain. Because of poor drainage, the depth of water in the parking lot has reached 1.5-2 feet, he said, which prevents people from getting to their cars. He also noted Locust Street at times has been closed because of flooding after a rainfall.

Construction began in mid-May and is scheduled to be completed in mid-August. The plans for the project were completed in March. Mr.Loete said the new system will collect storm water and release it slowly to prevent flooding at St. Ambrose.

A $400,000 grant from the Watershed Improvement Review Board is funding part of the project, with the remaining expenses being shared by the city of Davenport and St. Ambrose University,Mr. Loete said.

The project includes an underground system where more than a million gallons of water can be stored temporarily and later released into the storm water system, Mr. Loete said. An overflow pipe also will be installed. Mr.Loete said intake capacity at both Scott and Ripley streets will be "greatly improved."

Flooding caused the college a lot of headaches, Mr. Loete said. In addition to the parking lot and street issues, some basements have flooded.

"The university wanted to protect its investments here," he said.

Mr. Loete said project also will incorporate native landscaping, and an outdoor storm water educational area, where information about the project will be posted.

Mr. Loete said the project willimprove water quality, noting it's expected to capture the "first flush of pollution," which will prevent some pollutants from entering the watershed.

The luncheon forum was held at St. Ambrose, and attendees were given a tour of the project afterwards by Jim Hannon, the school's physical plant director. He said it's been a great project for the city and St. Ambrose to work on together.

Mr. Hannonsaid the project will make rainfall "much less of a concern now."While "it's a relief," he noted it's also a huge undertaking. The project involves 9,000 feet of 4-foot-wide pipe, and cuts through campus, he said.