An eroding stream that sometimes floods Waldorf townhomes would be relocated if the county is approved for an $800,000 grant.
The Charles County commissioners voted to apply for the grant during a Jan. 12 meeting.
Pat King, the county’s community development administrator, said a Community Development Block Grant would address “a serious environmental issue.”
John Stevens, the county’s chief of capital services, told the commissioners that the problem goes back “five or six” years and culminated during a 500-year flood event in July 2019.
A stream that runs through the backyards of 29 properties on Woodside Place and Westdale Drive in the Acton Village subdivision is nearly 3 feet deep in places and comes within 10 to 15 feet of some of the homes, a board document states.
The subdivision was built in 1981. As upstream areas developed, runoff into the stream increased and nearby residences flooded, according to a board document.
Homeowners attempted to remedy the flooding by installing culverts, rocks, fill dirt and fencing, but that only exacerbated the problem, according to Stevens. The homeowners’ attempted remedies resulted in additional homes being flooded.
County staff — with consent of the Maryland Department of the Environment — would like to relocate the stream to an adjacent undeveloped private property owned by the homeowners association.
If the grant is approved, the project would result in any remaining barriers being removed, the stream filled with dirt and a deeper and wider channel built south of the Lynnbrook subdivision and Shawnee Lane.
If the grant is approved, the county would pay $1.1 million for a total project cost of $1.9 million.
Rich Polk, director of engineering with the project engineer Vista Design, said installing piping would not work because the Maryland Department of the Environment would not allow it due to regulated wetlands on the property and simply removing the barriers would not solve the problem.
The grant funds come from the federal National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System program and would be disbursed by the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development.
The county expects to hear back from the state about the grant after March 1, according to county spokeswoman Jennifer Harris.