The weekend downpour, accompanied by warmer temperatures and snow melt, has the City of Trail keeping a watchful eye for debris build-up at its major creek intake sites.
Since Thursday, the city has parked its excavator at Trail Creek, by the bocce pits, and has crews regularly checking the creek channel to monitor the “trash racks” for debris.
“Monitoring our intakes this time of year, is a part of what we do,” said Larry Abenante, the city’s public works manager. “Right now, there is no real concern, but we keep a close watch.”
Abenante said that historically, the water levels will peak at that location from April 19 to 21.
“When we have had problems with floods, that is the time it happens,” he explained.
He said that on the opposite “sunny” side of the valley between the hospital and high school hairpin turn, is McQuarrie Creek, which historically has its peak water levels from March 19 to March 21.
“Even though that side is done, we will still keep an eye on it because we never know if there will be slough-age with the spring melt, and plug that trash rack.”
Abenante said that the city has made significant improvements in all its major intakes since the last flood in 1996.
“Back then, we had a mud slide on Gorge Creek and that’s what contributed to the flood downtown.”
After that historical flood, Trail developed a series of back-up systems that allow water overflows an opportunity to be re-directed back into the creek channel.
“Now, if the water does come out and over the channel, we have opportunity to use the back-ups to get the water back into the culverts.”
So far, the intakes at Palyga Drive and Ravine Street in West Trail are clear, thereby minimizing the threat of a Gorge Creek overflow. In addition to regular cleaning of the creek intakes, the city has 5,000 sandbags stockpiled in its inventory.