The flood situation in Tulameen is expected to worsen, and a mitigation team is in that community Monday afternoon preparing to install a tiger dam.
RDOS director Bob Coyne said the dam, which is made of rubber, will be used to try to control Otter Lake, and reduce its overflow onto residential streets.
The expert’s assessment is the flood “will escalate,” said Coyne.
A state of emergency was declared Sunday in the town. One hundred and forty eight properties have been evacuated and the rest of the 157 homes in the area are under evacuation alert.
Coyne said lake levels dropped overnight, but added “the snow melt is hardly started…the creeks haven’t started running.”
Coyne said that in addition to the lake, firefighters are coping with rising ground water that is flowing through septic fields, polluting wells and the flood water.
“It is a significant health risk to anyone in that water,” he said.
Well water will also be contaminated, said Coyne.
“Please don’t drink the water…the Tulameen Fire Hall has a treated water system where people who are remaining can get their water and there is bottled water available at the fire hall.”
The last major flood incident in Tulameen was in 2012, although the community experiences so degree of flooding each spring.
Coyne said the district is seeking a long term solution to the problem.
“Something needs to be done at the discharge of the lake to allow more water to escape,” he said…Otter Creek can only handle so much.”
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