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HOT SPRINGS -- Numerous studies have contemplated strategies for mitigating downtown flooding, from diverting Hot Springs Creek to boring a new underground tunnel, but none has proved practical.

Using data compiled by the U.S. Geological Survey's flood warning information system that monitors water levels of the creek and its Whittington and Park avenue tributaries, a new study partially funded by a $77,568 federal Flood Mitigation Assistance grant promises to solve the conundrum that has vexed storm-water managers for decades.

The Hot Springs Board of Directors adopted a resolution at its final meeting of 2018 to award FTN Associates a $103,425 contract to determine the feasibility of an upstream detention system that can contain the Whittington and Park creeks during significant rains.

The creeks swell when rain accumulates quickly, public works Director Denny McPhate said, taxing the capacities of underground tunnels and archways.

"What happens during a flood event is either one or both of the creeks gets full, it overflows into the street and runs down Whittington and Park," said McPhate, explaining that the tunnels are designed for a 10-year storm event. "Central Avenue becomes a conduit."

Overflow from the creeks bottlenecks where West, Hot Springs and North mountains intersect at upper Central Avenue. But McPhate said the accumulation subsides as quickly as the surrounding mountains channel it toward the creeks, making a detention system that can contain and incrementally release fast-rising water a promising solution.

A conceptual model students at Hot Springs High School East Lab designed has shown the city what a detention basin capable of containing a 100-year storm event would look like. Using data from the flood warning information system, FTN Associates will determine how big the basin needs to be.

Metro on 01/04/2019

Print Headline: Hot Springs flooding subject of new study

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