Comprehensive floodplain study could provide answers to why Waverly floods so often

Waverly Sky 5
Posted at 4:28 PM, Jan 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-13 21:57:42-05

WAVERLY, Tenn. (WTVF) — The federal government is committing thousands of dollars to study how and why Trace Creek in Waverly floods so badly during heavy rain.

While the 2021 flood was by far the worst in the town's history, it wasn't the first time Trace Creek has flooded.

That's why community leaders have asked for various floodplain studies over the last few years. Now, the U.S. Army Corps. of Engineers is on the case.

"You’re going to have a detailed flood evaluation of the entire Trace Creek watershed which has never been done before. So it’s going to take the entire basin into account," said Thomas Herbert, Nashville District's Plan Formulation Section Chief for the U.S. Army Corps. of Engineers.

As early as next week, Herbert's team will start plotting and measuring every twist and turn of Trace Creek, including where it typically floods.

"In the upstream areas where a lot of the heaviest waters fell during the flood and then going all the way through town, all the way through Trace Creek to the mouth," said Herbert.

"It’s definitely going to have many pages to the report," said Ashley Fuentes, Project Manager of the Nashville District's Project Planning Branch.

But the final report won't just feature raw data, they'll also offer up potential solutions.

"This would be the technical data that helps folks know where some of the best investments could be to buy down the risk of future flooding," said Herbert.

They'll consider questions like — should bridges over Trace Creek be rebuilt? Should the creek be rerouted at certain sections?

But such complicated questions will take time to answer. The study may take up to two years.

"They’ll be looking at things like constrictions in stream, constrictions of flow from bridges and things like that," said Herbert.

But Thomas hopes, if the study is done right, it can prevent history from repeating itself.

"It was a very big flood that happened that hopefully we can play a part in some of the solution," he said.

Waverly Mayor Buddy Frazier tells NewsChannel 5 that this study will give them a better understanding of why Waverly floods, and will eventually make the community safer.