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Run-off problems persist as spring arrives

Many Cranbrook streets were awash Friday as spring run-off created soggy conditions and caused a five-day water quality advisory. - Sally MacDonald photo
Many Cranbrook streets were awash Friday as spring run-off created soggy conditions and caused a five-day water quality advisory.
— image credit: Sally MacDonald photo

Cranbrook is no longer on a water quality advisory, but the region continues to face run-off issues this week.

The water quality advisory issued by the City of Cranbrook on Friday, March 7 was rescinded on Tuesday afternoon.

The water quality advisory was issued late last week, following the quick snowmelt and rain on Thursday and Friday of last week, which created a slight increase in the turbidity levels in the Phillips Reservoir – the source for the City of Cranbrook's municipal water supply. As a precaution the water quality advisory was put into place as required by the Interior Health Authority for those residents with children, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems.

Testing of the municipal water system was conducted by Public Works throughout the weekend. The final test came back clear on Tuesday morning, prompting the advisory to be rescinded.

Meanwhile, efforts to contain the spring run-off are continuing around the Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) this week.

A 20-person Unit Crew from the Wildfire Management Branch continued to assist with sandbagging efforts, stockpiling almost 2,000 sandbags Monday at the gravel pit next to Cranbrook’s Public Works yard on Cobham Avenue in Cranbrook and another 1,500 in Fernie.

The automatic sandbagger was moved to Fernie Monday afternoon and crews expect to have a few thousand sandbags filled and ready to be picked up by anyone in the City of Fernie or Area A who needs them. The pick up location is the Mainroad Contracting yard on Dicken Road, which has 24 hour access.

Members of the Jaffray Volunteer Fire Department assisted with pumping and diverting water last night at a residence in Jaffray as rapid melting started to cause some overland flooding. The Unit Crew assisted with sandbagging in Jaffray today en route to Fernie. The sand and sandbags are located at the Jaffray Pub and Sunrise Grill parking lot. There will also be sand and empty bags for residents to self fill should the supply of filled bags get depleted.

With the run-off conditions seeing little change and stockpiles of sandbags completed today in Fernie and Cranbrook, Emergency Management BC has recalled the Unit Crews and they will no longer be available to assist.

“We are so grateful to the Wildfire Management Branch and the members of the Unit Crews who have been working long hours doing everything from filling sandbags by hand to placing sandbags from Gold Creek to Fernie and all points in between,” said RDEK Information Officer Loree Duczek. “This is hard, physical work and many people have been able to access sandbags quickly under rapidly changing conditions this week thanks to their efforts.”

Although the Unit Crews have been pulled out, there remains the need for sandbagging in the Jaffray area.

“There is a lot of water starting to run in Jaffray and we would like to be ready if the forecasted warmer temperatures materialize this week and the water levels start to increase there,” added Duczek.

The forecast is still calling for a mix of sun and cloud, light scattered showers and temperatures between 8 and 10 degrees above zero for the next few days.

The RDEK continues to remind people to stay off lakes and away from streams and creeks as ice conditions can be highly unpredictable.

The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure and Mainroad Contracting are also dealing with a number of issues along roads and highways in the region. For the latest road conditions, visit www.drivebc.ca.

Information about IH Drinking Water Advisories and Notifications can be found at www.interiorhealth.ca/YourEnvironment/DrinkingWater/Pages/AdvisoriesNotifications.aspx.

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