Stormwater run-off from the east side of Intel’s property onto Corrales homes may finally be controlled. Extensive drainage control improvements, including concrete block walls, grading, plantings, spreading of gravel and creation of ponding areas and check dams, have been completed over the past year after consultations with engineers.
Intel’s Erika Edgerly have a presentation to Corrales’ mayor and Village Council at their council meeting April 28. After describing the tasks and showing photos of the work along the paved trail that separates Intel property from Corrales neighborhoods, Edgerly said Intel will continue monitoring how those changes function during expected monsoon rains this summer.
Mayor Jo Anne Roake later praised those efforts to address chronic problems created for Corrales homeowners in the sandhills below the escarpment. “The Village thanks Intel, and in particular Erica Edgerly, for her commitment to this project to not only preserve the trail but also increase resident’s protection against flooding during the monsoon season.”
A major stretch of the recreational trail, variously known as the Intel Trail or the Skyview Trail, has been graded and re-paved to direct stormwater run-off to the west rather toward Corrales.”The trail is canted slightly toward the west and a curb has been added along the east side,” she explained for the council meeting. “That will create a long holding area if water were to accumulate. Rocks have been added at the base of the wall to prevent erosion.”
Areas north of the new pavement have been terraced to slow run-off as well. Her presentation included a photograph of a new stairway from the Pueblo los Cerros condos up to the Intel Trail. “We’ve added in stairs to get to the trail, with a fence on either side to keep folks on the trail,” she said.
After he briefing, Councillor Stu Murray asked for how great a storm was the project designed. She replied: “It’s designed for a 100-year flood. And that was afser the designed was reviewed by Sandoval County as well as by Albuquerque.”
She did not specify, but the reference probably was to the Southern Sandoval County Arrohyo Flood Control Authority and the Albuquerque Metropolitan Arroyo Flood Control Authority.
Murray was concerned that the new construction included a break in the curbing that might allow flows into Corrales in the vicinity of Windover. Intel closed off its paved hiking and biking trail while construction and landscaping was underway. “For safety considerations, the trail has been closed, and the associated access points have been fenced off so that only those performing the work have access,” Erika Edgerly said January 15.
Corrales homeowners had complained for more than a decade about stormwater cascading down the east-facing slope into neighborhoods along Morning Sun Trail, Hop Tree Trail and other roads, causing thousands of dollars in flooding and sediment deposition. Finally, last year Intel called in consultants, including the Southern Sandoval County Arroyo Flood Control Authority, to assess the chronic problem for recommendations.
Intel’s Edgerly had given a detailed council at their June 18, 2019 session. The problem had existed for many years but apparently had worsened after Intel constructed the paved trail basically right on its property boundary with Corrales. (See Corrales Comment Vol.XXXVII No.18 November 24, 2018 “Homeowners Appeal to Village to Take On Intel Run-Off.”)
Edgerly said then that the new project should “get us back to our historical flows” leaving Intel property. She is Intel’s public affairs director for New Mexico and Texas.
On November 25, 2019 she responded to a Corrales Comment inquiry, saying, “As you know, one of Intel’s goals is to be an asset to our community, which includes engaging with our neighbors to address their concerns. This year, we updated our quarterly maintenance procedures for the east slope of our property based on recommendations from a third-party engineering firm.
In early summer 2019, she said, “We worked with our landscaper to install additional hay bales along the east slope to reduce erosion and control sediment. At that time, we also used sediment from key areas to make berms to catch storm water.
“We also had an Intel engineer walk the east slope weekly this summer to identify areas that need to be addressed. For the fall and winter, the engineer will walk the area monthly,” Edgerly explained.
“As I presented at the June 18 Village Council meeting, we have been working with local authorities and the third-party engineering firm to identify additional actions to maintain the east slope of our property in accordance with local ordinances. The engineering firm has completed their design and we have reviewed them with several interested neighbors and officials, including Ron Curry, the Village Administrator. We are hopeful that a majority of the work included in the design will be completed in the first half of 2020.”
A major improvement was to be achieved by grading land adjacent to the paved trail toward Intel, away from Corrales. In the past, Intel mainly had tried to stop the flow of stormwater into Corrales by placing a long row of straw bales along the property line.
In her presentation in June 2019, Edgerly said a new engineered check dam above Palacio Road “will stop the run-off from coming down and catch water and catch sediment and help the water to soak in a little bit,” preventing further flows downhill into Corrales neighborhoods.
An important component of the plan would be to re-visit the problem and solutions a year later, she said. “This will be a learning curve for us,” Edgerly said at the June council meeting. “We will likely do some work and see how it goes this summer. We want to make sure we are getting the results we want, and then go back and do some additional work next year.”
She described the proposed work above Hop Tree Trail this way last year. “For this section of the trail, especially since it is close to the property line now, we will end up having to move the trail so that work isn’t being done right up against the fence line. We will do more contouring here. We are also looking to increase the size of the ponds in this are as well as install a new pond once we move the trail.”
The mayor and council members seemed satisfied with the plan, which was a sharp contrast to Intel’s usual response to Corrales homeowners’ complaints. Typically, Intel officials would refuse to take responsibility for flooding damage into Corrales, but would offer to compensate for damage with a few thousand dollars.
In November 2018, two CorraIes homeowners appealed to Village officials to help them persuade Intel to effectively address the ongoing problem of stormwater run-off from Intel’s property.
Loren Keller and Allen Nickelson made their case to the mayor and Village Council during the Corraleños Forum portion of the meeting agenda November 13, 2018.
“I am here this evening to appeal to the Village for help with a problem we are experiencing with our neighbor… Intel,” Keller began. He is a homeowner along Palacios Road.
“The rains of late July  showed just what their uncontrolled water run-off can do,” he continued. “We experienced considerable damage and flooding, and thus incurred significant expense in repairs. They did allow us to file an insurance claim resulting in a settlement of $4,000.
“That seems to be their answer to the problem, since not one thing has been done to prevent a reoccurrence of our specific problem. They have placed strawbales in certain locations, but they simply do not work.”
He said the erosion from Intel’s property has created a channel as deep as four feet in one location. Keller said he had talked to an Intel representative, “but there seems to be little she can do.
“We built our home on this property in 2007. Our builder explained to us that we were legally responsible for controlling our own water run-off. We built holding ponds to accommodate that, and have made other adjustments as we learned the nature of the water flow. Does Intel not have that same responsibility?” Keller asked the mayor and council.
“This event showed I could not control both my property run-off and Intel’s. I have rough estimates from both an engineering company and a landscaper to address this problem. Their solution amounted to me making adjustments on my property to control Intel’s runoff at an estimated cost of $50,000.
“That simply does not make sense to me that I pay $50,000 to control their run-off.
“I know others in the village have experienced this problem. I also realize Intel is the 800-pound gorilla in the room, and we, acting individually, have little chance of getting their attention. We need your help!” he pleaded.
Nickelson said he has owned his property here for around 35 years. He pointed out that some time back, after the asphalt trail was constructed along Intel’s boundary with Corrales, straw bales were placed along the east side of the trail to mitigate run-off. “The walking path was built adjacent to our property with no consideration as to what that would mean about drainage,” he explained.
He was told Intel installed about 1,400 straw bales to be placed along its eastern property line. But only three bales were placed along his property, he contended.
Nickelson said then he was convinced that Intel “has no interest in correcting the problem.”
The men asked that the Village send a representative, along with council members for districts affected by the Intel drainage issues to an upcoming conference with Intel. It was suggested that someone from the Southern Sandoval Country Arroyo Flood Control Authority might also attend.
The authority’s executive director and chief engineer, Chuck Thomas, did participate.