The Langley Infrastructure Program handout of May 28 states that the proposed storm water management system as part of the Water Management System Improvement Bonds Issue on the ballot this November will improve storm water outflow to Puget Sound and will improve bluff stability.
The proposed system as sketched for East Langley, however, would only collect sheet flow surface water on the street and redirect it to a series of catch basins on its way to the county outflow and to Noble Creek.
There is no mention of collecting or redirecting the natural flow of underground water from our large watershed, its layers of clay, till and sand, and its drainage basins which produce the groundwater rivers which are the major cause of bluff erosion.
Yes, there are other causes of bluff slides and erosion but ground water flow from our watershed is the major player. Until there is citizens’ approval of an engineering plan for a storm water system that will also collect and redirect groundwater from our watershed our bluffs will still be in trouble from this natural event.
In 2006, Edgecliff Drive neighbors brought to the City of Langley the need for a hydrogeological study of Langley area watersheds. Neil Colburn, Langley mayor at the time, through the office of Congressman Rick Larson, brought two professional geologists from U.S. Geological Survey to Langley for a two-day study and survey of our current hydrogeological environment specifically as it pertained to bluff stability.
The USGS report included a statement warning us that we had a problem. It admonished us to not make it worse. The report referred us to best management practices for development and best infrastructure investments and to provide a basis for overall critical area management — also required by the Growth Management Act.
The need to provide for a hydrogeological basis remains true today. Our area is still a critical environment, and our bluffs are still unstable.
As much as there is a need for a major storm water system in East Langley, there is a proper concern that the improvement bonds issue in this regard is myopic.
Adding a line item to city wide property tax for years to come for a storm water system that does not include groundwater management as a major component is very shortsighted.