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Davis Journal

Centerville is ready for spring run off, city officials say

May 12, 2023 11:42AM ● By By Linda Petersen

Local officials are hopeful that Davis County, including Centerville, will see typical spring temperatures in May and that there will not be excessive flooding. However, if there is, Centerville City is ready, Public Works Deputy Director Dave Walker told the city council April 4.

Walker and his crews, aided by the police department and neighborhood networks, had been monitoring the waterways daily for several weeks, he reported. Debris basins were also being inspected at least weekly by city and county crews, he said. Davis County crews have assessed the debris basins to make sure they are ready to go, he said.

“If we were to see something significant, we could act rather quickly,” he said.

Sometimes residents can misunderstand how debris basins work, Walker told the city council in response to a question from Councilmember Robyn Mecham. Mecham had received a call from a resident concerned that two debris basins were filled with weeds and had not been cleaned out by city crews. 

These basins have been designed with weeds in mind, Walker said. “When you get a high-volume flow like you’d see in a flooding event, all it does is lay that stuff right down. If we were to go in and dredge it and stir it all up, then you’re actually going to cause more concerns and more challenges down the road.”

As the mountain snowpack is being observed by state, county and city officials, the primary concern is just how quickly melting will occur, he said. “It’s not until that whole snowpack really is above 32 to 33 degrees that you actually start to see significant melt coming down the mountainside. Once we start to see in the 50s up there on a consistent basis, I think we’ll start to see those snowpacks start to compress a little bit, and that’s when we’ll start to see our volume go up in the channels.”

In recent years, significant infrastructure improvements have been made across the city that have addressed some issues from the past, Walker said (see attached map). Centerville also has back hoes, front loaders, dump trucks and three conveyer vehicles (two trucks and a modified trailer which can be used as a sandbag filler), ready for immediate use if flooding should occur, he said. Additionally, Walker has implemented a modified work schedule with 24-hour overlap for city personnel ranging from administration to ground crews to make sure that the city can respond immediately to any flooding issues. Police Chief Paul Child and the department’s emergency preparation specialist are also developing an incident action plan.

Initially the city was offering free sandbags, 12 per household or business, to be picked up at the Public Works Department. On April 10, that changed. As of press time, residents could fill their own sandbags with sand provided by the city at the Centerville Public Works Department, 655 North 1250 West, 7:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. Walker said he might consider adding Saturday hours to that schedule if there was a need.   

Plans are also being implemented to bolster the city’s social media and internet presence and to regularly provide updated information about snowmelt, flooding and flood preparations on the city website’s home page so that residents can have the latest information, Walker said.

“Communication is key,” said City Councilmember George McEwan. “Since we know this is a hot-button issue for everybody, I think we could add a couple of those things and really alleviate some of the fears.” 

Walker and Davis County are also asking residents to do their part by keeping children and pets away from flowing water. If their property is located near a creek or waterway, they should remove debris and floatables items such as patio furniture and toys from around their property. If they observe significant obstructions in channels they should let the city or county know so they can be removed.

Walker encourages residents to reach out to him at 801-292-8232 if they have concerns.

“That’s what we’re here for is to bring that peace to the people and get their questions answered,” he said. λ