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.
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.