Greetings Mr. Hicks,
I am Radu Zamfirache, one of the engineers in PWT, working with Mr. Chen on drainage projects.

First, please allow me to use this opportunity to thank you for your volunteer work, assisting and supporting your community. It is through people like you that the County can reach out and truly understand the problems and needs of our constituents. On the matter of drainage In Country Estates, I can attest and concur that this is an issue that is neither new, nor easy to address. Over the years (indeed, decades), the County has been actively involved in discussing the flooding situation at hand. The problem is one that is simple to understand (technically) but proved very difficult to factually address. At its core, the issue is that significant areas of the
community are in the Roland Run 100-yrs. floodplain. Unfortunately, this large area almost encompasses the only vehicular access. Indeed, we can confirm that “almost”, in this case, means that there are certain storm events when – for short durations – Country Estate is being cutoff from terrestrial vehicular access.

As I said before, the situation in the area is not new. There also exists – technically speaking – one clear and certain solution: opening Greenspring Ave. vehicular access, at the Northern end of the subdivision. It would be outside of the 100 yrs. floodplain and – therefore – dry in most storms, except for the truly extreme ones. It would certainly guarantee significantly more resilient vehicular access to the neighborhood. Key to this matter though, is understanding the vagaries of hydrologic statistics: most people believe that the 100-yrs storm is a storm likely to occur only once in a hundred years. Mathematically/statistically, that is incorrect. Such a storm would be a 10,000 yrs. storm. The 100 yrs. storm has a chance of occurrence of 1% in any given year. May not sound like much, but over the regular duration of a mortgage, it amounts to an almost 30% chance. Why it matters? It is crucial for communities to understand that the perceived unlikelihood of low probability storm events is, really, anything but. In the particular case of Country Estates, this understanding is vital. In previous iterations, we learned that the community (as well as GLCA) has always been rather staunchly opposed to the idea of opening the Greenspring Ave. access due to the inherent inconvenience and dangers of opening the community to cut-through traffic. That is no trivial consideration and the County understands it well. But, ultimately, it is up to the community – and neighbors – to decide if dry access in the 100 yrs. storm is more important than the disadvantages of cut-through traffic. Certainly, immunity to the 100 yrs. floods does NOT mean that – for a lifetime – there will never be an instance that the access is still cut off by flooding waters. Quite the opposite: the likelihood that it will happen at least once (perhaps more) is rather high. All the while, the cut-through traffic would be a permanent and daily occurrence.

As far as the existing drainage infrastructure and its capacity and function, we are glad to share that the County (after many years) is about to finalize (this summer) a set of tools that would allow us to execute neutral and professional grade rating of our drainage infrastructure. The entire mechanism is in its final testing stages and upon its validation, we will be able to start using it as a quite powerful tool to diagnose and identify deficient infrastructure within any specific drainage basin in the County. We know that County Estates and a few other areas in historic Lutherville have a long history of flooding and would undoubtedly benefit from such an evaluation. Regrettably, even when complete, the evaluation cannot and would not show any better way of resolving Country Estates access issues, as described above. But, it would define areas where enhancement of the existing drainage infrastructure, in tandem with the deployment of “green drainage” may help with the outcomes from less severe storms. Please be sure to follow up with us (or your Councilmanic Office, which can inquire / direct the inquiry to us), periodically, for updates on the evolution of this project.

Please do not hesitate to reach back to us, if you have any further questions, per my contact info listed below.

Kind regards,
Radu L. Zamfirache, M.S., P.E.
Engineer III / Project Manager
Storm Drain Design Section
Bureau of Engineering and Construction, DPW
Baltimore County Government
111 W. Chesapeake Ave., room 219, Towson, MD 21204