|When the Spring Glen Canal was piped two years ago, some residents feared that flooding would result when the canals were no longer there to take runoff water away. That has not materialized to any great extent as of yet, but some ditches that were connected to the canals are now becoming clogged from disuse and may present similar problems in the future. The county commission recently considered one of these situations.|
The Carbon County Commission heard about a potential problem at their regular meeting last Wednesday night, one that may affect a number of areas in the county.
A group of Spring Glen residents were on the agenda to talk about flood control, and their concerns about a ditch in front of their homes that is no longer being maintained since the Spring Glen Canal Company piped and pressurized their secondary watering system.
"Since the pipe went in, the ditch on the south side of Haycock Lane hasn't been maintained," said Norm Hansen, one of the residents along the ditch. "There is a lot of debris in the ditch and when it rains hard it plugs up and the people on the north side of the road have a real mess."
Hansen explained that he had been taking care of the section of ditch in front of his house and then he realized that the ditch was on some property that had been deeded to the county years ago by a previous owner. He said he was concerned about if he should take care of the area or not.
"The problem here is there are a lot of little things nicking at us there," he told the commission. "The ditch not only has a lot of debris in it, it is also full of gravel from the chip and seal job the county did. That has come from cars forcing it off the road and from people pushing snow into the ditch. They pick it up as they cross the road. In some places it is nearly full."
He pointed out that for years the ditch not only carried irrigation water, but that it also acted as the drainage system for an area of Haycock Lane that had no other system.
"I have seen when the fire hydrants are tested by the fire department and the water has no where to flow," he said. "If an irrigation pipe breaks up above there could be some real flooding in the area. I think the whole thing is just a can of worms."
County attorney Gene Strate pointed out that the county does have an easement there, but that it has nothing to do with drainage.
Commissioner Mike Milovich drew an analogy between the ditch and the curb and gutter that runs in front of many homes.
"It appears to me taking care of that ditch in front of the property is similar to taking care of the curb and gutter in front of a home," he said. "It is the homeowners responsibility."
He also pointed out that owners of property are the ones that are responsible for water when it runs off it.
Commissioner Bill Krompel, however, brought up the fact that things are changing around the county because of the newly piped irrigation systems.
"The irrigation ditches in our area have always been part of flood control in the county," he stated. "It may not be the county's responsibility to handle this, but I think we ought to do some coordination on solving the problem."
This is not the first time the commission has met with various groups about flood issues pertaining to irrigation systems being pressurized. Other residents of Spring Glen approached the commission in the spring of 2002 about some similar problems and some residents of Carbonville have been in touch with all three commissioners at one time or another about their concerns involving filled in ditches and canals.
It is also not an emerging problem that is unique to Carbon County. Several years ago pressurized irrigation was put in various areas of Duchesne and Uintah counties and irrigation canals and ditches that had been used for runoff as well as watering were filled in there too. Consequently, in years since, a number of incidents due to heavy rains and high runoff has caused the flooding of some areas
The meeting then turned into an idea session with various kinds of solutions put forth by the commissioners, but the bottom line was that the commission needs to first find out what the county's responsibility is in the matter.
The matter will be further considered in an October commission meeting after some research is done by the county.