May 13, 2013 / 3:26 pm
Preventive work is currently underway at Testalinda Creek just south of Oliver, after a high volume of water and debris started flowing down.
The effort started Friday night and was continuing Monday, according to Dale Kronebusch, RDOS emergency services supervisor.
“The increase in water flow coming down the mountain has picked up an excessive amount of gravel, so we are bailing it out,” he said.
Currently, the effort involves digging out the gravel to ensure water stays in the channel.
The main concern being if water jumped the banks of the creek, it could flood orchards.
“This is all strictly tied to snow melt and there is no public safety risk,” said Kronebusch.“This could be more of an economic impact if orchards flood.
Right now it is basically under control, a waiting game until water stops flowing in high volumes.”
John West, a vineyard owner who lives next to the creek, said the amount of water in the creek increased last Sunday when it got really hot and hit a peak around Thursday night.
“It’s the typical spring run off,” he said. “But we are always worried about another debris flow like what happened in 2010.”
It was on a hot June day three years ago, that a massive mudslide slid through the same area, after a dam failed above.
Several homes, other structures, orchards and vineyards were destroyed as the torrent of water, mud and trees swept through.
In addition to keeping an eye on the Testalinda situation, Kronebusch said they are concerned about Keremeos Creek backing up at First Street in Olalla and possible flooding in Tulameen.
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