Engineers Study Failing Drainage System

Article excerpt

PONTE VEDRA BEACH -- The stormwater drainage system in northeast

St. Johns County is so poor that roads are beginning to be

undermined and septic systems have likely been affected,

according to engineers studying the problem.

Stephen Joca, whose engineering firm has been hired to develop

a master drainage plan for the region, said a preliminary look

at the network of swales and lagoons meant to handle runoff show

how soggy the region is.

Joca's firm, Stone, Joca and Mahoney Consulting Engineers,

contracted with the Municipal Service District of Ponte Vedra

Beach on June 11 to prepare a master plan to renovate the runoff

system that extends from the Duval County line through the Guana

River Wild Life Management Area.

"The impression is, the old Guana River is now a series of

lakes," Joca said at a service district meeting Monday. The

Guana system is clogged with vegetation in varying stages of

growth and decay, Joca said he learned during a walk through the

wetlands.

Some roads in Ponte Vedra Beach are cracking and the water

table is so consistently high in some places that the lime-rock

road base seeps up through those cracks, he said.

"That's an indication the roads are pretty stressed," he said.

The high water table probably is interfering with the proper

working of septic systems, which depend on being above the water

table to function properly, said engineer Nancy Debs, who is the

Stone, Joca and Mahoney project manager for the job. …