Flooding in Eastampton

by Don Maurer

 

If the experiment of opening Mill Dam this Spring and Summer proved
anything, it proves that Mill Dam has no effect on water levels
above the beginning of Paducah Lane. While the properties closest to
the dam experienced extremely low water levels, ponds drying up and
contraction of the creek to a fraction of it's normal width and
depth, the effect upstream was relatively minor. This is because the
water level upstream of Paducah lane is controlled solely by the
flow over Smithville Spillway and local runoff. For the past couple
of weeks all of the gates at Mill Dam have been completely shut as
well as the gate controlling flow through the Mill race. The creek
below Paducah Lane is at a normal level. Above Paducah lane the
levels are comparatively low because of the normally low flow rate
of the creek during the Summer months and the lack of significant
rainfall recently.

There is a gravel shoal or sandbar in the creek opposite the
Gooden's property. Currently it is impassable in a canoe or kayak
except at the extreme outside edges. This means that the gravel bar
can be no lower in elevation than the gates at Mill Dam when they
are completely closed. It is this gravel sandbar that causes the
water to back up during a storm.

Residents of Eastampton who are concerned about flooding would do
well to petition the Department of Environmental Protection,
Burlington County Emergency Management and the Army Corps of
Engineers to dredge the gravel sand bar. This will control minor
flooding upstream. In the event of a major flood, there is so much
water coming downstream and from runoff that nothing short of
raising the houses on footings will prevent flooding.