Even more emergency flood costs surfacing | NevadaAppeal.com

Even more emergency flood costs surfacing

Terri Harber
Appeal Staff Writer

Cost to clear Carson City’s storm drain system as a result of New Year’s weekend flooding could exceed $200,000.

On Thursday, the Board of Supervisors will be asked to OK the storm-drain cleanup cost and will receive an update on the city’s continuing flood-related activities.

The $200,000, plus $25,000 if necessary, is being spent to clear sand, silt and debris clogging storm drains. HydroTech Inc., based in Fernley, is doing the work. The city expects the job to be finished by March 31. The company started the cleanup Jan. 2.

Because the work was done in response to an emergency, it wasn’t put out for bids. State code concerning government work contracts stipulates that a job resulting “from a natural or man-made disaster and which threatens the health, safety or welfare of the public” may be awarded without going through the normal contract process.

Total repair and cleanup costs are expected to cost millions of dollars. The full flood-related cleanup costs won’t be known until the Federal Emergency Management Agency decides whether the region qualifies for a disaster assistance.

A FEMA team will return to the area to make a damage assessment, and that amount will be cited in a disaster declaration signed by President George W. Bush, said Robb Fellows, the city’s flood plain manager.

FEMA representatives were in Northern Nevada earlier this month to make preliminary assessments about the flood damage.

Carson City’s protective measures have totaled $300,000 so far, Fellows said. They include such expenses as help from the Nevada Division of Forestry and use of special equipment for cleaning and repairs.

The storm-drain expense is one small part of the cleanup picture, albeit an important one. The city’s streets and storm-drain system move water through the city, he said.

Because the storm drains are old, various downtown areas are subject to heavy rainwater backup. Exacerbating street flooding throughout the city was debris coming out of the hills and running into the storm drains. The Waterfall fire scorched Carson’s west side and left an array of branches and other remnants. Regrowth of vegetation was too new to hold back the debris.

Flood-related work already complete, for example, includes initial repairs of Combs Canyon Road, removal of debris from Timberline Drive and the regrading of Voltaire Canyon Road, Fellows said.

Last week, Fellows described to the Planning Commission the city’s flood-prone areas and explained how loss and damage can be mitigated through zoning, special uses and other requirements, according to city code.

Fellows emphasized that areas outside hazard zones identified by FEMA also can be flooded and that it’s impossible to guarantee there will be no flood damage in hazard-prone areas.

The number of requests the city has received for information about flood hazards has greatly increased since the New Year’s weekend flooding, he said.

— Contact reporter Terri Harber at tharber @nevadaappeal.com or 882-2111, ext. 215.

If you go

What: Carson City Board of Supervisors meeting

When: 8:30 a.m. Thursday

Where: Sierra Room, Community Center, 851 E. William St.

CALL: 887-2100