While Lacombe may not have as much rain or access to waterways that our flooded neighbours to the south do, many residents still began to worry that last week’s heavy rains might bring a repeat of the flooding that Lacombe experienced a few years ago.
However, recent upgrades to Lacombe’s stormwater system seem to have deterred such instances.
Matthew Goudy, director of infrastructure for the City of Lacombe, said that while Lacombe’s recent heavy rains proved as a good test for the City’s new stormwater system, that system alone is doubtfully the only reason Lacombe did not experience the same difficulties as its southern neighbours.
“Obviously the number one reason (it didn’t flood) is because we didn’t have as much rain as the people that did flood,” said Goudy.
Having said that, Goudy went on to say that Lacombe had indeed experienced several heavy rainfalls that he believes would have caused problems if upgrades had not been made to the City’s stormwater system.
“In the past we would have had localized flooding.”
As it happens, Lacombe’s ‘new and improved’ stormwater system seems to have passed the test, as no flooding issues were reported after last week’s heavy rains. It was a very different picture two years ago when an unusually wet spring and summer for Lacombe saw severe flooding in some parts of the City. In 2011, what Goudy called “crazy amounts” of rain led to several instances of flooding within the City. He added it came to a point where some areas of the City were routinely reporting localized flooding almost every time it rained.
“Obviously that’s not a situation we would want for our residents,” said Goudy. He added that this led the City to believe that the problem could be with the system handling stormwater, not just the high levels of precipitation.
“In 2011 the weather just really showed us, ‘Hey there is a problem,’” said Goudy. As such, the City underwent a study that then suggested the upgrades that have recently been implemented into Lacombe’s stormwater system.
Two major upgrades were made to Lacombe’s system to help it cope better with heavy rains and decrease chances of flooding. The first was to install a kilometre of 1,200mm storm-pipe parallel to an existing pipe in order to essentially quadruple the drainage capability of stormwater from problem areas of the City.
Lacombe’s second major upgrade was to nearly double the capacity of the Bruns Storm Pond.
Goudy said the majority of the upgrades being done after recommendations of the study are completed but there are still a few minor issues being taken care of. He added that he is not about to dub Lacombe invulnerable to flooding but said the recent rains and lack of localized flooding suggest the new system is working exactly as planned.
“So far what we’ve seen is great success.”