Orange County checking pumps, draining ponds ahead of Dorian
County prepares for rain from Tropical Storm Dorian
In anticipation of Tropical Storm Dorian's potentially\ heavy rainfall, Orange County's Public Works department fired up pumps countywide Tuesday afternoon.
Public Works Stormwater Coordinator Mike Watts said crews are focusing on the Oak Ridge/John Young Parkway area. A large drainage canal runs through that area that empties into Shingle Creek.
Crews ran the heavy-duty permanently installed pumps in the area to force standing water into a large canal that will carry off the water.
[TROPICAL STORM DORIAN: See latest track, models | Florida remains in direct path of Tropical Storm Dorian]
Running the pumps tests them but also lowers the water level in retaining ponds.
Orange County spokesperson Doreen Overstreet said county officials take a proactive approach to stormwater management and continuously check and maintain equipment.
"Orange County’s 18 stormwater pump stations are checked by the Stormwater Management Operations team and Fleet monthly to ensure full operation," Overstreet said. "This maintenance also includes the testing of the emergency generators just in case there is a power failure. In addition, the county inspects and maintains 95 miles of primary canals every four weeks."
Overstreet said flooding-related blockages in Orange County's Rio Pinar neighborhood have been addressed.
Heavy machinery removed blockages from Deerwood Canal and Rio Pinar Lakes Canal to improve the flow of stormwater.
Rio Pinar flooded badly earlier this month during a heavy rainstorm.
Overstreet also said the county is spending millions of dollars on improvements in the Orlo Vista neighborhood, which was underwater during Hurricane Irma in 2017.
Crews installed a skimmer to replace a grate and upgraded the system that regulates the pumps.
Currently, Orange County is designing and engineering a plan to replace the two existing pumps and dig 40 acres of retention ponds 10 feet deeper. That work should be finished by 2022.
Overstreet encouraged all Orange County residents to immediately call the county's 311 hotline if they notice blockages or any other storm or stormwater-related concerns.
[WATCH BELOW: Tracking rainfall, flooding concerns for Lake Harney]