Humboldt looking at flood mitigation possibilities

HUMBOLDT — Twinning storm mains, digging new drainage channels and building detention ponds are among the options being looked at by the city to improve drainage for major rainstorms in the city.

Peter Bergquist, Humboldt’s public works director, reported on a flood mitigation review being done by Catterall and Wright Consulting Engineers at a special council meeting on Oct. 13. The review is funded by a provincial grant.

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The director told council the last review was done in 2012. Since then, there have been major flooding events in 2015 and 2020.

“Knowing the system a bit more, we suggested or threw a few more ideas out for evaluation, particularly after June floods that we had here on the 14th and on the 30th,” he said.

One idea is to twin the storm water main under 11th Avenue from Fourth Street to 16th Street. Bergquist said the study will determine if the new pipes would be adequately sized and examine the benefits of such an improvement.

Another idea is to build a recessed dry detention pond at Carl Schenn Park to focus any flooding on that area on a temporary basis to let the storm sewer system catch up with any major rainfall.

Building a new drainage channel on the west side of the city from the 17th Street and Fifth Avenue intersection to First Avenue South is also being considered. The intention would be to drain water from the Uniplex and the west of the city to the south of the city.

A final idea is to build a detention pond north of 16th Street.

“That one I can update you on,” Bergquist said. “It has been disregarded, it wasn't as beneficial as we were hoping it to be.”

The director said that it’s also important to make upgrades to the sanitary sewer system to prevent the storm water system from overloading.

“We do have older systems where weeping tile or inflow may be going into the sanitary sewer system, so it's important to upgrade those systems as well to handle increased flows when a storm hits.”

Councillor Roger Nordick told council that he’s hearing concerns there’s too much focus on flood mitigation in the northwest part of the city

“One of the concerns I've heard quite a bit lately, is that we're concentrating our efforts and our dollars on the northwest section of the community and yet other areas of the community are flooding as well,” adding that he’s heard of flooding in the southeast part of the city and near the hospital.

“Maybe it's time, as things have changed, that we need to do another [study] city-wide because we need to address the concerns that people have.”

The city has invested around $4.8 million in new infrastructure after the 2012 study aimed at mitigating flooding, including new pipes, detention ponds and upgrades to lift stations.

Bergquist said Catterall and Wright are finishing their evaluation and he’s expecting to see their report relatively soon.

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