City Engineer: SAU stadium won’t worsen sewer problems

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City engineers say St. Ambrose University's plans for a stadium and sports complex will not worsen sewer problems in the neighborhood.

Monday evening, Aldermen Ray Ambrose and Mike Matson hosted a meeting with neighbors of the St. Vincent's Center property to answer questions about the proposed stadium's impact on the sewer system.

Residents of the area have long dealt with sewer problems. Last April, dozens of homeowners near West Garfield Street had heavy rains overwhelm the system, spilling sewage into their basements, alleys, streets.

Neighbors say they don't blame St. Ambrose University for the sewer problems, but worry the sports complex will only make matters worse.

"There again, you're adding to our problems. You're not the cause, you're just adding to," said neighbor Jackie Draper.

City Engineer Brian Shadt tried to ease those concerns, explaining SAU's vision for the area.

"The proposed design by St. Ambrose will not make the area worse, and they have indicated that they want to help solve the stormwater issues that are in the area," said Shadt.

The plan is to collect stormwater runoff in bioswales and a giant detention center underneath the football field. The water would then be let out at a slower rate into Duck Creek, where it already flows naturally.

"In essence, what the goal would be is to detain the water and release it slowly," Shadt.

The City also wants to reroute the sanitary sewer line that currently overflows into the neighborhood. That fix is currently planned for 2016, but could possibly be tied into the SAU project.

City staff are working to see if there is funding to reroute the sewer line sooner, before St. Ambrose would begin construction.

Many neighbors, though, remained skeptical after Monday's meeting.

"No guarantees -- and that's what we need, somebody to come and stand up and say, 'We guarantee this isn't going to happen,'" said Draper.

A second vote on the stadium plan is planned for next week.