Riverdale Neighbors Calling for Drainage Repairs - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Riverdale Neighbors Calling for Drainage Repairs

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Flooding Seen on Intersection of River Road and Nanticoke Avenue (Photo: WBOC) Flooding Seen on Intersection of River Road and Nanticoke Avenue (Photo: WBOC)
Flooding Seen on Intersection of River Road and Nanticoke Avenue (Photo: WBOC) Flooding Seen on Intersection of River Road and Nanticoke Avenue (Photo: WBOC)
Flooding Seen on Intersection of River Road and Nanticoke Avenue (SOURCE: WBOC) Flooding Seen on Intersection of River Road and Nanticoke Avenue (SOURCE: WBOC)

RIVERDALE, Del. - With rain and winds on the way for this weekend, neighbors in the Riverdale area are already expecting flooding at the intersection of River Road and Nanticoke Avenue. For years, these neighbors have complained of flooding at that intersection, caused by high tide, but they said their concerns are not being addressed. 

"The water backs up through these storm drains," said Jim Santangelo, who lives at that intersection. "This one here and the one across the street flood the road."

Santangelo said he first brought his concerns to state agencies in 2009, and has a long list of email correspondences to show for it. 

In March of 2010, Tina Shockley, of the Department of Transportation responded, calling repairs to a check valve "cost prohibitive." She also said that the repairs "could create more problems."

But Santangelo kept pushing, and received a similar response just over a year later from Jim Wyatt, also from DelDOT. He estimated that the cost for the drainage repairs was approximately $18,000, with an additional cost of $3,800 for the check valve itself. 

"DelDOT does not have the funding at this time," Wyatt said in the 2011 email. "And we are not even sure this is the right approach. Or would even fix the problem."

Then came Superstorm Sandy in October of 2012. This storm brought major destruction and flooding in parts of Oak Orchard, and in response was a community meeting with multiple state agencies, including DelDOT and the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control. The goal of that meeting was the discuss possible solutions to drainage problems in the area. 

The next significant correspondence was in July of 2015, when Diane Calloway, of DNREC, gave Santangelo an update. She said that the agency had conducted a drainage study in Oak Orchard, last winter. This study helped the agency to identify over 30 projects, which were in need of repairs. Then came the bad news for Santangelo and his neighbors. 

"The intersection of Nanticoke and River Road was not identified to be in the top five," said Calloway in the July email. 

For Santangelo, he said the lack of action is frustrating.

"Things are tight everywhere," he said. "But this is something that is a severe problem. And needs to be taken care of... We just seem to be getting put on the back-burner." 

Brooks Cahall, of DNREC's drainage program, said that funding problems continue to be the roadblock to repairs of this intersection. Currently the intersection of River Road and Nanticoke Avenue is 14th on the list. 

"Although the drainage program is focused on moving towards solutions for the top five locations," he said. "That does not prohibit other identified solutions from moving forward in the future if there are willing landowners and available funds."

Cahall said a public meeting is being planned tentatively for October, in order to discuss these drainage issues in the Oak Orchard area. 

Neighbor Vincent Millman said that he was fearful for the safety and well-being of his community, without action. 

"Flood insurance doesn't cover everything," he said. "If that house gets flooded, I'd lose everything."

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