Begun in 2012, the feasibility study analyzed possible flood-mitigation projects throughout the entire Tookany Creek Watershed. The original draft plan favored constructing nine dry detention basins functioning as a system – six in Cheltenham Township and three in Abington Township – as the most cost-effective option to reduce flood damage in Cheltenham. The estimated cost to construct all nine basins was approximately $9.2 million. After reviewing input from significant public comment, the ACOE revised the plan to feature just six basins, all in Cheltenham Township, at a projected cost of $6.7 million. The ACOE would cover 65% and the township would pay the remaining 35%.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Tookany Creek Flood Damage Reduction Feasibility Study
Glenside Flood Control
Tookany Creek Flood Damage Reduction Feasibility Study
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) will discuss the final draft of the Tookany Creek Flood Reduction Feasibility Study at the Cheltenham Township Public Works Committee scheduled on Wednesday, October 14, 2015. The meeting will be held at Curtis Hall, located at 1250 W. Church Road in Wyncote, following the Finance Committee meeting that will begin at 7:30 p.m. The study release was delayed so the ACOE could complete an agency technical review of the work.
Begun in 2012, the study has analyzed possible flood-mitigation projects throughout the Tookany Creek Watershed. Preliminary analysis favored constructing nine dry detention basins – six in Cheltenham Township and three in Abington Township – as the most cost-effective option to reduce flood damage in Cheltenham. When finalized, the study will be posted on the township website www.CheltenhamTownship.org.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) has nearly completed the Tookany Creek Flood Damage Reduction Study begun in 2012. Its preliminary analysis favors nine dry detention basins – six in Cheltenham Township and three in Abington Township – as the most cost-effective option to reduce flood damage in Cheltenham.
The study analyzed five alternatives, some with multiple configurations, as well as no action at all, and the ACOE calculated the cost-benefit ratio for each. Although the nine-basin plan was the costliest at about $6,481,000, it also netted the highest annual benefit to the Township.
Instead of large-scale excavation, an earthen embankment would be constructed on the downstream end of the detention basin to capture and control water flows. The embankment would include interlocked gabion baskets and earthen material that would allow flows at non-damaging levels to pass. If the stormwater inflow rate increases above that level, water flowing through the gabion basket structure would be “choked,” so a pool would form in the basin behind the embankment. If the ponding water exceeded the basin’s storage capacity, the embankment could be safely overtopped without failing. After the downstream levels normalize, the water in the basin would be slowly released through the gabion-basket conduit and everything would return back to normal.
The proposed basin locations, which are subject to revision during a detailed design phase, are:
The ACOE anticipates completing an agency technical review of the study over the summer 2015. After the feasibility report is finalized, project design is expected to take another year to complete. The earliest construction would begin is 2017.
The Tookany Creek Flood Damage Reduction Feasibility Study conducted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) was authorized by the Board of Commissioners in April 2012. The two-phase study encompasses the entire Tookany Creek Watershed because flows from Abington, Jenkintown, Rockledge and Springfield in Montgomery County contribute to portions of flooding issues in Cheltenham. The study achieved some major milestones in 2013.
At a January 2013 public meeting, USACE presented a hydrologic and hydraulic model that accurately represents existing conditions within the study area. The model was created and validated by extensive research into past rainfall events, stormwater management systems and water runoff patterns, including surveys from recent flood victims. It represents a vital achievement because it enables USACE to predict the impact potential solutions would have in areas affected by flooding, a crucial tool for evaluating options.
Formulating those flood mitigation options is the next phase of the study. That process began in February when Township Commissioners, officials and residents along with experts from numerous federal, state and local agencies joined the USACE in a workshop at Glenside Hall. The participants combined their expertise to brainstorm all reasonable solutions to address the complex flooding issue. The USACE team has provided a report on the plan formulation results.
Options could include structural measures like raising or building levees and floodwalls, bridge modifications, bio-swales and bio-retention basins. Non-structural solutions might entail property acquisitions and floodplain land-use controls. Because many factors contribute to flooding, multiple approaches in combination may be needed to effectively combat it. A detailed screening of alternative plans is anticipated for this July.
Federal funds are covering approximately $472,500 for the study. The Township’s contributions will total approximately $330,000 in funds and in-kind contributions, such as Township Staff support for the study. Federal funding is also available for the design and construction of structural remedies that could be implemented as a result of the study, which is scheduled for completion in mid 2014.
The study agreement and project management plan are available online.
Glenside Flood Control
March 2015 Note: The Glenside Flood Control Project is temporarily on hold to assess if and how the proposed basins would impact the Glenside project design.
The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has $4 million earmarked for the Glenside Flood Control Phase II Project, which was stalled for years because several large property owners critical to the DEP design refused to grant easements.
A brand new concept, excluding those problematic properties, has revived the project. The new design entails:
§ acquiring three flood-prone commercial properties on North Avenue to remove the structures to create vegetated detention ponds.
§ acquiring the parking lot at the corner Rices Mill Road and Glenside Avenue to remove the asphalt and regrade the property as a bio-detention basin.
§ raising the existing earthen levee by 3 feet along the Keswick channel behind Brookdale Avenue properties.
§ replacing the existing levee from near the pumping station to the Rices Mill Road bridge with a new flood wall.
§ installing a second culvert under Glenside Avenue to parallel the existing culvert.
Neighborhood and public meetings to review the proposal were held beginning March 2013. At the April 10, 2013 Public Works Committee meeting, DEP made a presentation about the plan. The changes in the two plans are clarified in this letter from DEP. The Committee then recommended the approval of the plan and the preparation of construction documents, which would be the next step. Construction could be completed in September 2015. The Glenside project will be incorporated into the USACE feasibility study. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Army Corps of Engineers Tookany Creek Flood Damage Reduction Feasibility Study
- February 2014 Update
Glenside Flood Control Presentation - April 2013
Flood Plains in Cheltenham Township
Emergency Management Tips on Flooding
Emergency Sewer Backup