DPIE Under Construction, April 2021

Under Construction Masthead with water drops for flood awareness month

April 2021

Message from the Director

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Happy Maryland Flood Awareness Month!

April has been designated Maryland Flood Awareness Month. According to a statement from the Governor’s office, floods cause more deaths and property damage in Maryland “than any other natural hazard.” Responding to issues related to flooding and drainage is a top priority for Prince George’s County Government. Recently, DPIE joined with the Department of the Environment (DoE), the Department of Public Works and Transportation (DPW&T) and the Prince George's Soil Conservation District (PGSCD) to create and present to the County Council a report entitled “Drainage and Flooding in Prince George’s County.” The report provides A to Z details of the issues and the County's efforts to address problems. The report is linked below. You will find it helpful.

Be safe!

DPIE Director Melinda Bolling, wearing black suit with white trim, US flag in background
Melinda Bolling, signature block of DPIE Director

white space to increase distance from imageFlooding left roadways impassable in Prince George’s last year, picture of police officer wading through 2 feet of water across intersection

Flood Awareness Month Spotlights Damage from Rushing Water, Mitigation Measures that May Help Property Owners

County staff evaluates standing water caused by flooding.   (Photos courtesy of Fire/EMS Department)

Floods have always been a source of fascination and fear, and the horror wreaked from flood waters is real. In Maryland, floods cause more damage and deaths each year than any other natural disaster. Ellicott City in Howard County suffered floods in 2016 and 2018 that devastated historic Main Street and other areas. Flooding last summer in Prince George’s County affected hundreds of homes and turned intersections into muddy ponds.

To alert citizens to the dangers of flooding, April has been designated Maryland Flood Awareness Month. DPIE regularly works to educate residents about flooding.

“Flooding causes many problems for Maryland residents each year. We receive numerous complaints after heavy rains,” said DPIE Deputy Director Dawit Abraham. Abraham supervises the Site/Road Plan Review Division, which investigates flooding issues in new home developments.

He said property owners should educate themselves about flooding and measures they can take to mitigate damage. Preventative measures include placing sandbags to absorb water, clearing drainage outlets of debris, ensuring sump pumps are in working order and equipping structures with wet vacuums.

Prince George’s property owners qualify for a 25 percent discount on federal flood insurance. Insurance is available under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which is managed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). NFIP provides flood insurance to property owners, rentals and businesses. According to the County website, $100,000 in flood insurance can be purchased for as little as $35 per month. Many homeowner insurance policies do not cover flood damage.

Visit the County website for information about local flooding. For more information about Maryland Flood Awareness Month, visit the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) website.

Indoor flooding picture of standing water and flip flop floating on top, text reads A common result of flooding is basement damage.

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DPIE Partners with Sister Agencies to Address County Drainage Issues, Flooding

DPIE recently collaborated with DoE, DPW&T and PGSCD on “Drainage and Flooding in Prince George’s County,” a comprehensive report. Access the Drainage and Flooding presentation here or click the image to view it.

Drainage and Flooding in Prince George's County text on green banner as cover to presentation

DPIE Attacks Roadside Litter in Sign Blitz

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Group of inspectors with sandwich signs during sign blitz

DPIE has a message for those who litter local roadways with illegal signs: we’re coming for the ugly signs and you will be fined. 

Enforcement Division staffers seized more than 1,800 illegal signs posted on County rights-of-way during a Sign Blitz on March 30. DPW&T staffers removed 1,700 signs during a blitz earlier this month. Each year, Sign Blitz events are held in the spring and fall. DPIE works with DoE, DPW&T, the State Highway Administration (SHA) and local municipalities to remove thousands of illegal signs from local rights-of-way. The signs create an eyesore and pose a safety hazard by distracting drivers’ attention.

Inspector Anthony Elliott heads to the dumpster with an illegal sign.

“These signs violate County Code,” said Enforcement Division Associate Director Val Cary. “Some people feel it is their right to deface public roads, utility poles and traffic signs with their messages, but nobody has that right.”

The signs confiscated in the recent blitzes included cheap plastic placards, sandwich signs, waving signs and giant banners that advertised everything from alcohol to yard maintenance.

Code Enforcement Officer Bill Edelen, who coordinates the Sign Blitz Program, said the signs will be destroyed. Those who post them face a fine of $1,000 per location.

“Prince George’s County has zero tolerance for roadside sign litter,” Edelen said. “We’re going to keep tearing them down and trashing them and working to identify those who are responsible for them.”

Inside the dumpster tells the story: post Sign Blitz when inspectors collected 1,800 illegal signs.

The Sign Blitz Program aligns with the County’s Beautification Initiative, which urges residents, businesses and visitors to reduce litter and adopt behaviors that will result in less waste. The Initiative’s goals include instilling pride in residents and encouraging them to become stewards of the environment. Residents use the hashtag #PGCPartofitProudofit on social media to show support.

Residents can help DPIE and other agencies in the fight against sign litter by reporting it to 311 and refraining from patronizing the companies that advertise on the signs.

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Spring Virtual Community Partners' Meeting a Success!

Spring 2021 Virtual Community Partners' Meeting presentation cover of blue and green horizontal stripes and text

DoE hosted the virtual Spring 2021 Community Partners' Meeting on April 7. Updates and information about DPIE, DoE and DPW&T were provided to the 139 people who attended.

If you missed the meeting, click here to view DPIE's Community Partners' presentation.

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New Hires

DPIE welcomes the following new hires and congratulates them on joining the team!  Each new staffer has shared some information to help us get to know them and their start date.

Nicole Bennett

Nicole Brooks, Director’s Office — IT ePlans Unit Administrative Aide IV, 3/15/2021

Throughout my professional development, I enjoyed learning about different industries. I worked for a directorate of public works, a public policy think tank and an economic consulting firm. Each position provided me the opportunity to grow. I am excited for the next chapter at DPIE. I enjoy spending time with my family, cooking, reading, and watching movies and TV shows in my spare time. I believe you should always allow yourself to grow, learn and change. Your future self is waiting!

Jessy-Manuella Tientcheu

Jessy-Manuella Tientcheu, Site/Road Plan Review Division — Engineering Technician I, 3/29/2021

I am a sophomore computer science major at the University of Maryland. I currently work as an intern for Engineer Salman Babar, Site/Road's floodplain manager. My ultimate goal is to become a software engineer and own a tech company.

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Employee of the Month

Scottie Mauney

DPIE Congratulates Scottie Mauney
Employee of the Month for April 2021

Construction Standards Inspector Scottie Mauney works as a supervisor in the Site Development Inspection Section of the Inspections Division. This year, he played a major role as a mentor in developing construction standards inspectors. He is credited with seeing the permit process through from the beginning to completion, including resolving complicated issues. He also provides excellent customer service. His work ethic and congenial spirit lift the performance of his team.

DPIE commends you for your exceptional performance!

white space to increase distance from imageProud to be Protected – YouTube Video #1, Why should you get vaccinated?

Proud to Be Protected

Why should you get vaccinated?  Hear some of your fellow Prince Georgians discuss why they are Proud to be Protected from COVID-19. #ProudtobeProtected #PrinceGeorgesProud