MARTINEZ, Calif. – Recent rains and a partially blocked storm drain may have made the Waterfront Park’s ballfields look like they were drowning in water.
But those fields should be fine, according to Don Salts, deputy Public Works director.
“City staff was advised water was ponding on the infield of the ball fields,” he said. When staff members went to look at the fields, they discovered that a portion of an existing storm drain system was blocked.
“The water actually was only a couple of inches deep over a portion of the infields, even though it may have appeared to be more,” Salts said.
The water no longer is backing up, he said, and his staff will continue making sure the system continues to flow freely.
This is nothing new, Salts said. “Historically, the area of the fields has flooded due to heavy rains and high tides, which is still a possibility with the park being so close to the bay.”
Still, Martinez and its residents have to be mindful during heavier storms, City Engineer Tim Tucker said.
“Storms at the beginning of the rainy season can be a nuisance and cause localized flooding,” Tucker said.
That’s not only because of the storm showers, but also because at this time of year, leaves are falling. Those leaves tend to block storm drain grates, he said.
“Our maintenance division has spent the past month checking and cleaning storm drains as a preventative measure,” Tucker said. “They also go out to known trouble spots just prior to the rain.”
Recent storms have caused some minor flooding, such as on Morello Avenue and Marie Drive. “There is a conflict with a shallow oil lines and the ability to lower a ditch north of the railroad tracks,” Tucker explained. “In this case and at trouble spot on Marina Vista (Avenue), we place ‘Flooded’ signs.”
Stronger storm usually come later in the Contra Costa County rainy season, Tucker said. “When we have multiple heavy storms near each other we can experience more significant flooding.”
The county’s Flood Control District has a flood prediction tool that can be viewed online at http://www.co.contra-costa.ca.us/4923/Flood-Forecast-Tool.
Tucker said it has a “7-5-3-2” protocol that indicates flooding is likely in cases of 7 inches of the season’s rainfall, 5 inches of 30-day rainfall, 3 inches in a 7-day rainfall or 2 inches in 24 hours.
“I generally keep an eye on this and notify our crews and businesses through Main Street Martinez and the Chamber if it looks like the criteria will be met,” Tucker said.