New Drainage Rules Could Soon Be Law

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Knoxville (WVLT) - Knox County Commissioners could soon make changes to the county's new storm water ordinance.

Two amendments to it were passed during Monday night's county commission meeting.

Volunteer TV’s Kim Bedford takes a closer look at the changes.

Under Commissioner Greg "Lumpy" Lambert's approved amendment, concrete pipes would no longer be required in all Knox County public waterways. "It will allow the engineers and workers to have some choice in what type of pipe they use, rather than being restricted to one particular material."

Instead of just concrete, developers could choose from metal or plastic pipes. "It's cheaper and it's safer to use, PVC. Concrete pipe is very heavy and there is a high rate of injuries to construction workers."

"I certainly would've liked to see that concrete pipe issue to go through,” says Commissioner Tony Norman.

Commissioner Tony Norman's request to stick with concrete only was rejected. "Our amendments were that concrete pipes be used on right-of-ways and through-ways and detention and retention ponds"

Norman says the issue with metal and PVC is not so much durability, but rather installation and inspection. "Somebody's got to be there all the time watching how these materials are installed, and we just don't have the personnel to do that."

"I think that with good inspectors, we can make sure that these other pipes are installed properly,” Lambert's second approved amendment takes away the flat fine of $1,000 for developers in violation and makes it anywhere from $50 to $5,000.

"Fifty dollars is like a bug bite to most of these land developers. That's silly to even talk about a fifty dollar fine,” Norman says.

But Lambert's convinced these new changes will do the trick, "We are going to have less floodwater issues in the future because we passed this ordinance."

Nothing is set in stone yet. The Knox County Commission will hear one more reading on the ordinance September 24th

If it passes, it will go into effect then.

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