Debris flow mitigation project put to the test by heavy rains
The recently completed Fairmont Creek Debris Flow Mitigation Project was just put through its first real test following a heavy downpour in Fairmont Hot Springs.
As part of the project, a series of debris traps were installed at various points along Fairmont Creek and the channel was widened in spots.
“The debris traps were designed to collect and hold debris and all collected varying amounts of material during heavy rains on the weekend of August 12,” explained Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) Engineering Services Manager Brian Funke. “Although there was some localized water in a few areas, the debris traps did their job.”
The first debris trap on Fairmont Creek above the community was nearly full. Some of the other traps along Fairmont Creek also collected a small amount of debris. In total, the Fairmont Creek debris traps were approximately five to 10% full after the August 12 debris flow.
The Fairmont Hot Springs Resort’s reservoir on Cold Spring Creek just above the community was 100% full of debris and the lower debris trap near the Columbia River gained an additional 25% more debris.
“We are currently working with the province for financial assistant to remove debris from the Fairmont Debris Traps, Cold Spring reservoir, Cold Spring Creek, and the lower Cold Spring Creek Debris Trap,” said Funke.
Over the past four years, the RDEK has completed three different phases on the Fairmont Creek Debris Flow Mitigation Project to create storage space for debris flow material by removing material from Fairmont Creek to increase the storage capacity and constructing large weirs that will help retain debris.
Lead image: The Fairmont Creek Debris Flow Mitigation Project became a priority for the RDEK following the massive 2012 debris flow incident at Fairmont Hot Springs. Pictured: A RCMP police dog team comb over the aftermath of the slide, which thankfully did not claim any lives. e-KNOW file photo