Borrow pit isn't welcome by neighbors - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Borrow pit isn't welcome by neighbors

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ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

Twenty vacant acres in southern Dougherty County will be turned into what's called a borrow pit. Some people who live nearby worry that could lead to flooding problems. Commissioners rezoned the area today. Engineers assured them flooding won't be a problem, and commissioners promised to stay on top of it.

Dougherty County commissioners can't help but be haunted by the 2009 flooding in the southern end of the county. That's why they were extra cautious in approving rezoning for a borrow pit. 

Commissioner John Hayes said, "We have a duty to our citizens to make sure that we're not creating unhealthy situations for them. Back in 2009 it was just a horrific situation there because some of those same kind of borrow pits if you will, or holding ponds could not, even with the pumping mechanisms, could not move large volumes of water."

This land on the Liberty Expressway will be turned into the borrow pit. After a public hearing Monday, commissioners approved rezoning the land, which is owned by Friendship Pecans.

"We're going to use it primarily, or initially for the Merck chemical plant restoration. We have a contract to restore the site after the demolition is completed," said Bruce Milton of Oxford Construction company.

Crews will dig the pit and use the dirt until that project is complete. And officials say it could actually alleviate flooding problems.

"There's a certain amount of water that's running off that 20 acres under existing circumstances and once that borrow pit gets constructed that will basically contain that 20 acres of water within itself, rather than running off and adding to any potential problems downstream,"  said Bobby Donley of Lanier Engineering.

Since the flooding of 2009, the county has taken steps to protect citizens and commissioners say last week's heavy rainfall is proof they're making progress. 

"And this last time I think you could see some improvements, over the last week or so in the amount of rainfall we got. We didn't get the kind of flooding that we could have gotten had we not taken some of the major steps that we've taken over the last few years." said Commissioner Gloria Gaines.

The final plan will be handed over to public works to be evaluated. Several homes surround the borrow pit.

Officials say owners have been notified of the rezoning, but none of them showed up at today's public hearing.

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