By Paul Gessler

ELLICOTT CITY, Md. (WJZ) — A new retention pond, soon to be under construction, is part of a series of projects officials hope prevents another devastating flood from hitting old Ellicott City.

Devastating flash floods in 2016 and 2018 exposed just how vulnerable Ellicott city was to its geography and nearby development. The pair of deadly ‘thousand-year storms’ brought millions of gallons of floodwater racing down the main street.

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The Quaker Mill Retention Pond is another step in the plan to prevent a similar flood.

County Executive Calvin Ball said a changing climate means the city needs to prepare.

“Our storms are getting more frequent and more intense,” he said.

Once completed, the pond will have the capacity to retain more than three million gallons of stormwater and release it slowly once the danger has passed.

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Progress continues at the first of the retention ponds, known as ‘H-7.’ It’s set to be completed late next year.

“These two will make a difference, but our work is not done,” Ball said.

Another retention facility—this one even larger—is planned about a mile west, off Frederick road on the other side of Route 29. It’s currently in the design phase.

“Projects like these are helping us move away from the idea that (old Ellicott City) will flood again,” said Chris Pineda of the Ellicott City Partnership.

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The retention ponds lie on the outskirts of Old Ellicott City, but some projects in town are complete like a new culvert system at the top of Main Street, equipped with cameras mounted to show real-time conditions during storms.

Paul Gessler