With the heavy rain of the past week, some streets saw standing water and continued to see problems with drainage. Yorkton is continuing work towards improved drainage systems, and the storm provided a test of the parts currently in place.
City Manager David Putz says that the drainage improvements in the city are a long process, and that the city is only two years into a seven year plan, with projects expected to be complete in 2017. Of the storm ponds planned for the city, only one of the ponds on Dracup Ave. and Darlington St. has been finished. The Brodie Ave. pond currently under construction, the third pond is in the engineering stage and the final planned pond is not yet in the engineering phase. Also needing to be completed is improvements to the storm drainage ditch along Dracup, as well as drainage Victoria Ave. and engineering work to divert water from the west side of the city to Logan Green.
“A lot of people might think we aren’t seeing much occur, but there are three other storm water retention ponds being constructed,” Putz says.
While it’s still early days for the planned drainage improvements, Putz says that the pieces that are in place right now have been performing as expected and confirm that the city is going in the right direction with the project.
“What it’s also doing is giving us an opportunity to look at our response to the different issues and changing priorities based on what we’re seeing. As we do work, we are able to move some areas that have been problem areas off of the table, and now we’re able to start addressing some of the others,” Putz says.
For example, he says that Clairwood used to be a problem area for the city, but changes in the area have improved the drainage and made it less of an issue. He says that larger catch basins have been shown to help with drainage, and even though some of the piping underground is still limited in capacity, the catch basins allow smoother drainage.
Putz also says that some problems experienced last week were due to people removing sanitary sewer covers from the streets, and he says this is something that people should not do, because it is unsafe and it might overload a system which would otherwise be able to handle the storm waters.
“In one case it’s our belief that caused surcharging in the system which caused some houses in the neighboring area to experience sewage backups, which they probably would not have if that would not have been done. The other situation is it creates danger, because if traffic comes along and that cover has been removed they have no way of knowing. We would ask and strongly encourage people to refrain from doing any action like that, that should only be done by our public works crews if they deem it necessary,” Putz says.
The city has had a wet few years, and Putz says this is part of a larger trend throughout the province.
“This is something that has been happening across Western Canada, not just the City of Yorkton. We’re not the only community that has been experiencing problems of this nature, other communities are as well, as a consequence for the newer areas that are being built we’re looking at increasing capacities and changing designs to handle storm water drainage. In the past, Saskatchewan was quite a bit drier than it has been in the past few years,” Putz says.
The comprehensive changes to the city’s drainage system are expected to come in at $7.8 million. Putz says that while the figure is high, it’s necessary work, as it will prepare the city for heavy rains in the future.