Water is something that we need to survive, we are made up of 75% water and without it we are nothing. Water is key to our survival but also can be extremely dangerous and cause death and destruction. While we have not seen any death today (Happy about that) we have seen a lot of destruction and damage to homes. This damage is wide spread and had caused a state of emergency in Thunder Bay, Oliver-Paipoonge and Conmee township all off which have experienced flooding and road washouts.
In Thunder Bay, the state of emergency was declared after the Atlantic ave Sewage treatment plant was flooded by a huge increase in water. Normally it deals with around 60 mega litres a day but by 2 am was dealing with closer to 650-750. This flooded the building and will likely caused million in damage to the brand new building. This also forced the city to ask that the residents not shower, flush or do anything with water for the time being. While the crews have worked to reduce the amount of water in the building it is still another 24 hours before an idea of the damage is known. Lots of residents also had there basements flooded some up to 4 feet. Whole sections of town were forced into the dark due to the risk of electrical shock and the chance it could fry the whole system. Rivers that normally creep along were rushing ever higher and in some cases touching the tops of bridges normally 10 feet higher.
Other areas also has the same problem but the problem included washouts of roads. Roads which has been built not 3 years before hand had sections washed away causing huge traffic problems. While some people were hurt no one was badly injured. Crews have been out repairing the roads to make them passable again but there is a lot of work to be done and time is of the essence. Crops, houses, fields and more are all damaged now because of the water and the threat is still there as more rain is expected to fall.
The city acted in the past after the major rainfall flooded these areas before and now with these becoming more and more valuable it might be time to do it again. I have a list of proposals that should help to alleviate the problem in the future and make it less a burden for people to deal with. If we can help to save these people person items and homes then they will become more affordable as there home insurance rates go down.
1. In low lying areas a system of large pipes should be installed to deal with a increased level of water. One of the problems that faced these areas was that the plant was full and the water had no where to go. A large pipe would be able to move the water away to another area which would allow for less water to pool and sink basements.
2. When the floodway gates are in need of replacement, we should build them bigger to allow for more water flow to be diverted into the floodway. The replacement of this would also allow for better technology to be implemented into the building which would allow for quicker and faster responses. 2A) Widening the floodway is something else we should consider when we are dredging the floodway next time. Giving it more depth and width will allow for better flow and more water to be diverted into the lake.
3. A holding pool should be added by the sewage treatment plant which would basically work the same as a tailings pond. When the plant is getting too much water (like it did today) a switch would be flicked and the pipe would cut off half of the flowing water. It would sit in the pond until the plant was able to clean the water and return it to lake superior. This likely wouldn’t have stopped the flooding of the building itself but the damage would be less and residents might not have been asked to stop using water. A holding area might only need to be used once or twice a year but it could provide a very helpful tool for the city in this case.
While it may cost money to do these jobs it might not be something that is overly expensive in the long run. If we can bring down the homeowners insurance for these people by working to protect these buildings then we can provide a monetary help to home owners.