Feisty Tarrant Fighting Back Its Floods

Tarrant Mayor Loxcil Tuck talks with reporters at the groundbreaking ceremony for the flood mitigation project on June 25.

The city of Tarrant, north of Birmingham, is one of those mill cities of Jefferson County embedded in the area’s mining and metals industries. It can boast being home to the largest producer of foundry coke in the U.S., Drummond Co.’s ABC Coke. And it can now also boast of taking care of its own worst environmental problem — flooding.

The municipality of Tarrant has begun a $9.5 million flood mitigation project that will address frequent flooding along Five Mile Creek.

The project not only will help mitigate flooding and storm water issues, but also address local water quality, sedimentation, erosion, stream and other aquatic resource restoration, as well as water and sewerage issues experience by the Jefferson County Commission and the Environmental Services Department.

“At times, the flooding has made Alabama Highway 79 impassable and caused millions of dollars in property damage and required us to make emergency water rescues of our citizens,” said Tarrant Mayor Loxcil Tuck. “I am proud of the work the City of Tarrant, FEMA and ADEM have done and their work together to find a solution for this problem for the residents of the City of Tarrant. And I am especially grateful to Rusha Smith and the Freshwater Land Trust for deeding us the property needed to complete the project.”

The Freshwater Land Trust is an organization that conserves land and water in Central Alabama. “As part of the Freshwater Land Trust’s mission to improve water quality, we are proud to have donated 522 acres of property to the City of Tarrant to assist with this major flood mitigation project,” said Rusha Smith, executive director of the Freshwater Land Trust.

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Findley Frazer, of Frazer Environmental, is the lead engineer for the project. He has worked since 2008 on grant funding for engineering studies to address the problem.

“The city has worked diligently to overcome significant obstacles in order to bring this project to construction,” said Frazer. “Included in those obstacles were moving portions of an Alabama Power high-transmission power line, as well as constructing a project across a Jefferson County Environmental Department sewer-trunk line. The completion of this project will not only protect properties from additional flood damage but will also reduce impacts to the transportation network of the metropolitan area.”

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