Municipal Drainage Expert Opines on Icy Parking Lot Conditions


Municipal Drainage Expert

This case involves a group of children that were seriously injured in an icy parking lot near their middle school. The owner of the parking lot had allowed the lot to become completely covered in ice and snow, allegedly due to lack of a proper drainage system. On the day in question, a group of children was bicycling home and went through the parking lot as a shortcut. Because the surface was so slippery, several of the children lost control of their bikes and fell. A few sustained bone fractures and one child sustained a head injury. It was believed that the property owner was responsible, due to the lack of safe upkeep on their property. An expert in drainage systems for parking lots was sought to opine on best practices for keeping lots like this from freezing over.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. Please briefly describe your experience in parking lot drainage and design.
  • 2. Can you speak specifically to recommended drainage methods given certain size, scope, usage, slopes, dimensions, etc. of the lot?

Expert Witness Response E-002747

I am a former town engineer and director of public works for 5 years. I was also a municipal drainage technician for a few years, and I currently specialize in design and construction management of roads, lots, drainage and hydrology infrastructure. I have reviewed hundreds of designs and implemented comprehensive drainage improvement programs in town. I am familiar with all aspects of design from hydrology to drainage components, surveying, construction and storm management (ice and snow). I can absolutely speak specifically to recommended drainage methods given size, scope, usage, slopes, dimensions, etc of lot.

Most parking lots are designed using a Simple Rational Method, the size and characteristics of the drainage area, intensity of the storm, infiltration rate of the land use and time of concentration are the main aspects. Slope and land use factors as well as dimensions of the flow paths enter into the time of concentration considerations. There are more sophisticated methods of Hydrology and it will be pertinent to determine the locally accepted norms. I can go into much greater depth as needed. As an Expert, I’ve testified in federal court and prepared counsel for a drainage issue in several states.

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