Dalton residents want solution to Dug Gap Mountain runoff - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Dalton residents want solution to Dug Gap Mountain runoff

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With four months left in 2013, we have already seen a full year's worth of rain.

Dalton is one of many communities dealing with runoff.  It is coming from Dug Gap Mountain, swelling local creeks, and eating away yards.

Residents in Dalton say they are keeping a very close eye on McClellan Creek. Both the City of Dalton and Dalton Utilities say they are working quickly to raise money to solve all of the runoff and erosion problems.

"This creek can get up to six or seven feet high when have a big rain," says Jean O'Neal, who lives near McClellan Creek.

It may not look like much on a dry day, but people along McClellan Creek in Dalton say one rainfall can turn the creek into a raging river.

"It's got to be stopped. There's not another answer," says O'Neal.

O'Neal has lived off Broadview Terrace for more than 30 years. She says new development and runoff is doing a number on her yard.

"At least seven feet by twenty feet has eroded," she says.

Over the years, she and her husband have spent thousands on sandbags and re-enforcing their bridge over the creek.

"It's not just us, it's the rest of the town," says O'Neal.

"It's sort of a catch 22 in a lot of ways because it's actually on private property and they're coming to government to fix their problem," says George Sadosuk.

Sadosuk is on the Dalton City Council, and the liaison for Dalton Utilities. He says the city is looking at ways to curb runoff from Dug Gap Mountain.

"We can't go in a fix the stream banks, because the EPA says you can't disturb stream banks," says Sadosuk.

Instead, Dalton Utilities is looking at building a series of retention ponds, with the first one located near the former site of the Chamber of Commerce on College Drive, for a cost of $8 million.

"It would lower the water level by about one foot, which would not even impact the problem," says Sadosuk.

He says Dalton Utilities is already behind in other capital projects and may need to form a storm water utility, which means raising storm water fees.

It is a move Sadosuk and O'Neal support. But O'Neal says her biggest fear is that "it just keeps eroding. The bridge falls in. My neighbor's bridge falls in."

"We hear you. And we are working toward something. Can we fix it? I don't know. Can it be fixed? I don't know," says Sadosuk.

The City of Dalton continues to meet with Dalton Utilities to come up with viable and cost-effective options. In the meantime, residents say help can not come soon enough.

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