Jasper Mayor David O’Mary looks on as Capt. David Lockhart of the Jasper Fire Department operates a drone used Thursday morning to check blockages along Town Creek.
Daily Mountain Eagle - Ron Harris
By RON HARRIS, Daily Mountain Eagle
City leaders took to the skies — figuratively, of course — Thursday morning to get a better idea of what needs to be done to curtail a problem with flooding along downtown streets during heavy rainstorms.
Using a drone that belongs to the Jasper Fire Department, Mayor David O’Mary and city streets department supervisor Russ Smallwood were given a closer look at trouble spots along Town Creek that may be contributing to flooding in parts of downtown Jasper.
The drone, maneuvered along Town Creek by Fire Capt. David Lockhart, quickly spotted trouble spots that can hamper heavy rainwater trying to escape city streets.
The use of the drone has several value points, O’Mary said. “The first value point is that we have two city departments working together on this project,” he said.
“The second is that this will allow us to gain very valuable information — at little to no cost to the city —regarding the flow of water along Town Creek,” he added. “Putting this drone up allows us to fly along the creek and identify points where there are restrictions to the flow of water. With this information, we can develop a plan to decide what we need in terms of personnel, equipment and whether we need to secure an access point across private land to take care of the problems. Then we can set about to remove these restrictions.”
Using a drone allows city workers to get a look at some areas of Town Creek that aren’t easily accessible on foot.
O’Mary said immediatley following the next heavy rainfall in the city, workers will again fly the drone to get a better understanding of where the problems lie.
“We’re going to put the drone back up to see if our work has been successful,” he said, “and if it hasn’t been, what other points need attention.”
The addition of a drone is a huge supplement to the storm water drainage work that’s planned for later this year in the city, O’Mary said.
“There’s no doubt this will help us reduce the likelihood of flooding in downtown Jasper in the future.”