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Trial by rain: Summer storms test Colorado Springs stormwater upgrades

Posted at 7:23 PM, Aug 25, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-25 21:23:12-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — August rain in the forecast for Colorado Springs adds to a summer of record precipitation.

The summer of intense storms has repeatedly tested recent citywide improvements to the stormwater system.

“I didn't know this summer was going to happen,” said City of Colorado Springs Stormwater Enterprise Manager Richard Mulledy, “So, we've gotten a chance to see really how those investments have paid off--and they have.”

A half dozen years back, voters approved extra money to fund citywide stormwater improvement projects.

The promise was a drainage network that could handle unprecedented rain events.

Then May and June brought the wettest two months in the history of the city going back to 1894.

“We throw out the term record and all kinds of things all the time,” said Mulledy, “But this really is a season like we've never seen before.”

Improvements to the drainage system now include better drop structures, drainage retention to slow water flow, also reinforced banks along streams and creeks.

The summer storms show that the work is meeting expectations.

Stormwater system managers count it as a major plus while also saying you “never claim victory”.

The city continues to grow and there is always the next storm.

Mulledy said, “It's going to be a continual process, but we can say that the investments that we made, were worth it.”

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