Palm Coast Streets Designed to Flood as Part of Storm Water Management System

Palm Coast 2, Daytona 0. For the second time in a little over five years, Palm Coast’s swale-based storm water management system has outperformed Daytona’s storm drains and culverts.

Palm Coast, FL – September 29, 2014 – History repeats itself. Torrential rains hit both the Daytona Beach area and Palm Coast last week. Palm Coast received over ten inches of rain Friday and Saturday. The Daytona area suffered Wednesday, when nearly eight inches of rain fell in 24-hours. While several Daytona structures received major damage, Palm Coast’s damage was limited to only 15 structures. Water infiltrated into the living areas of only a few homes.

Street flooding part of Palm Coast Stormwater Management System

Similarly, in April 2009, Palm Coast and Daytona were hit with 16 to 27 inches of rain within only a few days. In that storm event, Daytona suffered disastrous flooding while Palm Coast remained relatively unscathed. The contrasting results are explained by Palm Coast’s unique storm water management system in which streets play an integral role.

Palm Coast relies on a complex system of swales; connected low areas typically located parallel to the street at the front of each lot. The swales feed storm water into intersecting cross ditches. The ditches, in turn, feed into a system of 55 miles of fresh water canals and 23 miles of salt water canals. The canals, in turn, connect to the Intracoastal Waterway directly or through Graham Swamp.

When heavy rains overwhelm Palm Coast's swales, the streets take on the excess. Homes are built above street level, so excess water simply flows down the streets without entering nearby homes. Even a known low area near Bird of Paradise Drive, pictured above, suffered little damage when compared to Daytona Beach with its complex of storm drains and culverts.

When the Intracoastal Waterway was constructed, its designers took advantage of existing waterways whenever possible. The portion of the ICW passing through Palm Coast was dug to connect the Matanzas River to the north with the Halifax River to the south. Its existence makes Palm Coast’s storm water management system possible.

7 replies
  1. Groot
    Groot says:

    Public Health Hazard

    I would rather see the water in very large storm drains for several reasons. The primary reasons are public health related. The open ditches and swales are breeding grounds for mosquitoes and other insects and all the diseases that they transmit. Also, the ditches and swales are havens for cottonmouth vipers. 2 1/2 feet of water running down my street for hours on end is not a success. The water would probably egress the area quicker if the ditches were not clogged with vegetation and junk. The ones around here have not been cleaned in a year. Until the drainage issues are addressed and solved, a building moratorium should be enacted for new residential builds. We need to let the infrastructure catch up with the houses, roads and yards. Figure it out, solve it and then build.

  2. cyd weeks
    cyd weeks says:

    Doesn’t sound so great to me…

    In the L section there was at least one pep tank that let loose… you know what was floating in the water at that point. Success? You mean they built the sidewalks on Rymfire to purposely be underwater? Come on.

  3. Toby
    Toby says:

    Reply to Cyd

    My point is simply that Palm Coast’s stormwater management system performs much better under extreme storm events than Daytona’s storm drains and culverts. I would also venture that most cities would have suffered more damage given the amount of rainfall we had during such a short period. The latest reports say that central Palm Coast received 15 inches of rainfall.

  4. Beth Welsh
    Beth Welsh says:

    Yes, but…

    The problem seems to be all the vacant lots that have brush and no swales so the water doesn’t flow but backs up into the street. Maybe when Palm Coast is closer to being built out…but you are right that we are better than most!

  5. George Edward Chuddy
    George Edward Chuddy says:

    Leading Scientists of the World designed the Syste

    I concur with Toby. The System, designed and engineered to withstand a 100 year flood performed well as it has for decades last Century.
    The Levitt I.T.T. ‘ Braintrust ‘ who had resources we can only dream about designed this system.
    The Swales are the first line of defense. Thereafter the Streets / yards function as Stormwater run off with no water entering the main house causing damage.
    Another positive, lightyears ahead , is that the system also minimizes Eutrophocation. It also designed to *recharge* the aquafier, keeping the Canal System to rise and fall well.
    Perhaps there were areas that need maintanence / fine tuning. I believe the City understands this and knows of the original Design and are addressing most of the ‘aging’ and maintanence issues.
    For those who want to better understand the ‘Design’ read what the Leading Scientists comprising the ‘ Braintrust ‘ planned in:
    1972 publication ‘…An approach to a New City: Palm Coast …’.
    Sadly, so many do not understand the concept. One huge problem is that there is Parking in the Swales causing damage to the Stormwater System protecting us all.
    Hopefully the City will publish details of the Stormwater Design to better enable Palm Coasters to better understand it.

  6. Flooded again
    Flooded again says:

    Flooded yet again…

    I have lived in Palm Coast since 2004, just about every year there is a rain fall that covers Burroughs Dr with approximately 9-12 inches of water. The city has placed No wake signs and road under water signs with little to no effect on crazed drivers watching a wake enter into a garage. Some of the Palm Coast employees have even been splashed by these crazed drivers. When you live at the low point of an area, as I do, the water intended to run off according to the city’s plan for excess water goes nowhere except to the low point. Dig the swales deeper, more water accumulates. How about fixing the problem by lowering one of the high points on either side of the low point to facilitate water runoff?? What a novel idea, fix the problem rather than post signs.

  7. David Collazo
    David Collazo says:

    street flooding

    We only had 1.25 inchs of rain according the news,my street on the
    South side in front of our house was flooded some neighbors on our side of the street need to be told bye the city to take care of there
    Driveway drains,can the city dig out the shawls for better drainage.
    Please help,this has been an issue for decades’ on our side of the street.04/10/2018

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