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King County Executive
Dow Constantine


Emergency repairs under way to flood-damaged levees

Summary

King County is mobilizing today to make emergency repairs to levees and other flood-prevention structures that were damaged by this week's record flooding. King County Executive Ron Sims is again heading out to affected communities to speak with elected local leaders and meet with residents whose lives have been affected by floods.

Story

David Powell RoadKing County is mobilizing today to make emergency repairs to levees and other flood-prevention structures that were damaged by this week's record flooding. King County Executive Ron Sims is again heading out to affected communities to speak with elected local leaders and meet with residents whose lives have been affected by floods.

At first light on Saturday morning, King County was assembling crews to repair two heavily damage levees along the Tolt River, approximately one mile upstream from the confluence of the Tolt and Snoqualmie rivers near the City of Carnation.

Emergency work will likely consist of placing large rock at the base of the damaged levee sections, one of which was completely breached. Crews will build up the structures with material that can be compacted to create a temporary emergency repair. King County staff note that the emergency repairs will require additional work later this year.

A levee on the middle fork of the Snoqualmie River was also damaged during the high flows. The levee, which was not breached, suffered erosion from the pressure of the high water, including overtopping. King County crews are on the site Saturday morning to begin emergency repairs.

Crews are also meeting today to develop a plan for emergency repairs to a flood-prevention structure on the Cedar River. High flows caused significant damage to the site, which protects State Route 169, a major fiber-optics cable and King County's Cedar River Trail.

Meanwhile, the King County Flood Warning Center will remain in around-the-clock operation until conditions stabilize. Flood patrol crews will also remain in the field to check levees and other flood-prevention facilities for additional damage.

Executive Sims is headed to the cities of Snoqualmie and Pacific early this afternoon to meet with city officials and area residents.

Yesterday, Executive Sims toured the Red Cross regional shelter in Renton for flood evacuees, viewed damage along the flooding Cedar River and State Route 169, as well as Fall City and Carnation, meeting with the Carnation City Manager, Candace Bock.

River conditions

River levels continue to drop on most river systems across King County. The Cedar River remains at a Phase IV flood alert level because of planned water releases from the City of Seattle's Chester Morse Reservoir.

Farther south, the Green River remains at a Phase III flood alert level because of planned releases continue from the Howard Hanson Dam in the upper valley. Moderate flooding continues to affect riverside areas above the City of Auburn. Flows along the White River also remain high.

Public health and safety messages for returning to a flooded building

Emergency management and public health officials advise residents to take precautions to stay safe as they return to flooded areas:

  • Avoid entering any building, including homes, businesses or other structures before local officials have said it is safe to do so. Buildings could have hidden hazards that make them unsafe.

  • Before entering a building, look for loose power lines, broken or damaged gas lines, foundation cracks or other damage. See if porch roofs and overhangs still have all their supports.

  • Never use a portable generator in an enclosed or partially enclosed space, including in your home or in a garage, even with ventilation. Place generators outdoors and away from any open doors, windows and vents which could allow deadly carbon monoxide gas to come indoors.

  • Contact your insurance adjustors before discarding debris in case it needs to be onsite for the adjustor. Document your losses, both in writing and with photographs.

Safe water, food, and medicine

  • If your private well has flooded, your tap water is probably unsafe. Drink bottled water or water that has been boiled for at least one minute before using.

  • Discard all food, medicine and cosmetics that have come into contact with floodwater.

  • If your refrigerator has been off for a while, throw away all milk, fish, poultry, and eggs.

  • Do not use your septic system if water was standing on the ground around it. Check the system for broken lines or sewage surfacing. Call Public Health with questions about septic systems at 206-296-4932.

Clean-up safely

  • Wear gloves and boots when cleaning up. Wash your hands frequently if they come in contact with floodwaters.

  • Do not turn on wet electric appliances because they may cause an electric shock, overheat, or start a fire.

  • Discard mattresses and stuffed furniture as they can't be adequately cleaned.

  • Wash dirt and mud from walls, counters and hard surfaced floors with soap and water. Disinfect by wiping surfaces with a solution of one cup bleach per gallon of water.

  • Mold in homes should be cleaned as soon as possible. Wear rubber gloves and use eye and breathing protection.

Detailed information about health issues related to flooding can be found at www.kingcounty.gov/health/disaster.



King County Executive
Dow Constantine
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