Black Diamond feels ready for run-off

Flood 2013: Mitigation work should be complete for potential flood season

By: Tammy Rollie

  |  Posted: Wednesday, May 14, 2014 06:00 am

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Flood mitigation work in Black Diamond is in full force as water levels are expected to rise in just weeks.

Construction crews have been working seven days a week, weather permitting, building dikes in the Sheep River to protect the community from the potential of flood waters this spring.

The Town of Black Diamond is working with Alberta Environment and Calgary consulting firm Urban Systems on $?? worth of flood mitigation projects to protect the community from the potential of a future flood after homes and businesses were damaged from raging waters in the 2013 flood.

All costs are covered by the Province’s flood recovery funding.

“I think we will be in a good position coming into the beginning of June,” said Black Diamond Mayor Sharlene Brown. “I think the work is being done in a timely manner.”

Meghan Aebig, Urban System project engineer and the Town’s flood recovery project manager, said the town will be well-protected by the time water levels rise this spring.

“The Town has really made an effort to make sure the residents aren’t impacted and jumped through a number of hoops to make sure they are protected,” she said.

Aebig shared the status of the flood mitigation work at the Town of Black Diamond’s regular council meeting on May 7. She said three dikes will be constructed this year to protect the community from potential flooding.

“Every dike we construct we have to make sure there is no negative impact to property owners when water levels rise,” she said. “We model downstream dikes in relation to upstream dikes.”

A 300-metre dike is being constructed upstream of the Highway 22 bridge and should be complete before June. The dike will protect the Foothills Lions Club Campground from water damage and lessen the impact of potential flooding downstream, she said.

It will be tied into the guide bank being constructed by Alberta Transportation to protect the east bridge abutment that was damaged in last year’s flood and an existing dike along the campground.

Aebig said the biggest struggle construction crews are facing is a shortage of large boulders, called riprap, to protect the dirt and gravel dikes from erosion. Shipments of the rock to Black Diamond began just two weeks ago, she said.

“There are so many flood mitigation projects that are being constructed right now everybody is having issues getting riprap,” she said. “My fingers are crossed that (the ongoing shipment of riprap) is going to continue.”

The second phase of river mitigation work is the construction of a 300-metre dike upstream of the campground to protect a non-potable water well on the northwest side of the river, with completion expected next month, said Aebig.

Urban Systems also completed a preliminary design for a 450-metre dike on the riverbank along Vales Greenhouse. If the Province approves the project, construction should be complete in August, she said.

Black Diamond residents will be invited to an open house to learn about the proposal in either May or June, Aebig said.

Urban Systems water engineer Cameron Gatey told council a dike along the top of the riverbank rather than in the Sheep River should minimize disturbances to the river.

He said Urban Systems is seeking government approval to construct a temporary barrier on the bank using containers filled with sand to serve as temporary flood protection next month. If approved, the barrier may be incorporated into the permanent structure, he said.

Aebig said the configuration of all three dikes has been researched based on last year’s flood, and the expectation is the dike along the campground is the most critical for flood protetion.

“The amount of water that came through upstream of the Highway 22 bridge - a lot of the water that came from town was from the berm (near the campground) being breached,” she said. “I feel the majority (of damage) will be prevented from construction of an upstream dike.” Aebig said the engineers are also ensuring there won’t be negative impact on the other side of the river.

“The way they model is, they check to see how the river levels are going to be impacted and they say it’s minimal on the other side of the banks upstream and downstream,” she said.

While construction is underway, Aebig asks residents to stay away from the river throughout the spring and summer.


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