BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Members of Maryland’s congressional delegation met with residents in Howard County to discuss the devastating floods that have happened in the last two years.
More research and more funding are what some Maryland delegates say needs to happen to help prevent more catastrophic flooding in Ellicott City.READ MORE: US Pharmacies Are Rolling Out Free N95 Masks As Free COVID-19 Tests Begin To Arrive In The Mail
Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen, as well as Congressman Elijah Cummings, were all present Monday to listen and ask questions from both the county and federal agencies about the historic flooding of both 2016 and earlier this year.
In short, there’s a lot of work to be done.
The destructive, deadly floods of 2016 and 2018 in Ellicott City left many home and business owners with questions.
Among them: “What can be done to prevent this?” and “Will it happen again?”
Those questions were again being asked Monday by some members of Maryland’s congressional delegation.
“We can shore up the homes, we can do a lot to make properties safer, but I do think we need a broader long-term strategy to deal with the reality of these recent storms,” Sen. Cardin said.
Part of that strategy would be gathering more information on the “why” and the “how” of the flow of water that’s devastated Ellicott City’s Main Street twice in the last two years.
“One of the things we heard today was that the weather patterns have changed so drastically, and it’s not just the water it’s the flow of the water,” Rep. Cummings added.READ MORE: 3 Baltimore Firefighters Killed In Partial Building Collapse, 1 In Critical Condition
Representatives from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency were also present to answer questions and offer solutions.
“Bottom line, it’s going to take more studying, and what can you get from Congress to help put some of these plans into action?” one person asked.
“It will take more time to do a watershed-wide study, which yes, will involve more money, and to actually implement the recommendation, it’ll take authorization, Congress, as well as appropriation,” Col. John Litz, with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said.
For at least one impacted business owner, the idea of further studies isn’t ideal, but if it means the prevention of another so-called 1,000-year flood, it might be worth the wait.
“We want action, no more studies, but the things is, if indeed there are better solutions there’s something to be said for that. The problem is is that no matter how you slice it, there is no quick fix,” business owner Sally Tennant said.
Others want the solution to come sooner rather than later.
“This isn’t the sort of thing where you go, ‘Oh, we need to two to three years to do a long study’ and then meanwhile you have another flash flood, which is a very real possibility,” business owner Michael Johnson said.
Howard County officials say there are 18 projects in the works to help with flood prevention, but Sen. Cardin said one of the major endgame solutions is figuring out how to divert the water that flows down to Main Street.
Not long ago, Howard County agreed to stop new construction on Main Street for a year to allow for more research of the area.MORE NEWS: Maryland Weather: Potential Nor'Easter Could Bring Snow This Weekend