Ellicott City water main break brings attention to flooding issues

County working on plans to reduce flooding
Posted at 2:53 PM, May 18, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-18 14:55:53-04

Rushing water once again flowed down Main Street in Ellicott City. The source this time was a water main break.

At around 4 a.m., a water main break was reported on Main Street between Rogers Avenue and Ellicott Mills Drive. The main failure created a sinkhole that almost swallowed a woman’s car.

RELATED: Water main break creates sinkhole, shuts down Main Street in Ellicott City

The Howard County Department of Public Works estimates repair to the road won’t be completed until Friday morning. The water main is anticipated to be repaired by late Wednesday  afternoon.
Howard County's utilities' director, Steve Gerwin, said water main breaks around this time are common, however, the incident draws attention to various infrastructure issues that plague residents who live in historic Ellicott City. Recovery from last year’s flooding is still ongoing.

On July 30, 2016, there were six inches of rainfall in less than two hours. The flash flooding left two people dead and shut down Historic Main Street for just over two months.
Aside from the physical damage still evident downtown, the flood also left a mark on the community. The phrase EC Strong emerged as did a commitment to rebuilding Ellicott City and making it better than it was before.
“We need to find a way to control the water," said Beth Woodruff.

Woodruff is a member of the Historic Ellicott City Flood Recovery Community Advisory Group. The group was formed last August and was tasked with supporting flood recovery efforts.
“So a lot of property damage but no structural, personal property damage, so I was probably one of the most fortunate people in the flood but it doesn't mean I will be next time and it's events like this that really scare us,” said Woodruff.
And she was lucky again Wednesday morning. Woodruff did not experience any damage to her property despite living near the water main break.

“A lot of people are frustrated, some people are disheartened and then yah, a lot of people are frustrated or angry or kind of incensed enough that they do want to stand up and say, ‘we count, we need help, we still need help,’” Woodruff said.
Help may come at the end of the month that's when the hydrologic and hydraulic study is expected to be released. The study includes a comprehensive analysis with ways of reducing flooding on Main Street.
“I'm hopeful it'll give us some ideas as to how we can improve things. [There’s] nothing we could do to stop six inches of rain in two hours, everyone knows that, but we can do some things to make life better for the people in Ellicott City and we're going to do that,” said Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman.
The Ellicott City Watershed Master Plan kick-off meeting will be held on Wednesday, May 31 from 7 p.m. - 9 p.m. at the George Howard Building. For more information, click here.