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Storm sewers handle record rainfall

Reports of floods limited, says city infrastructure director

Despite recent record-setting soggy weather, City of Powell River director of infrastructure Tor Birtig said the city’s storm sewer system has held up well.

Since the beginning of October, close to 400 millimetres of rain has been recorded at Powell River Airport’s NavCanada weather data station.

“We’re well on pace for a record year of rain if it carries on this way,” said Birtig, “and I haven’t heard of many flooding issues.”

According to Environment and Climate Change Canada data, actual rainfall in October more than doubled historical averages and November is well on its way to exceeding normal rainfall.

During the first two weeks of November, 13 days saw precipitation, totalling 116.7 millimetres for the month at that point. According to 30-year climate normals, November generally has 20 days of measurable precipitation and 178 millimetres of actual rain.

Residents of nearby communities on Vancouver Island, such as Campbell River, Comox and Port Alberni, have experienced flooding during the wet season, but Powell River homes have remained relatively dry.

Birtig said residents on Kamloops Street in Westview did encounter some problems and city workers have tried to determine the exact cause, whether it was problems with property maintenance or inundated home perimeter drains.

“There’s been no clear determination on that,” he added.

Birtig said city crews have tried to stay on top of taking care of the system, which has been overwhelmed and ceased to function during heavy rain events in the past.

Street sweeping frequency increases between the end of September to the latter part of November to deal with the amount of leaves and other debris that could clog drains, said Birtig.

He added that the city appreciates any help residents can provide in clearing storm drains when they see them covered with leaves.

“With about 100 kilometres of city roads, we can’t stay on top of it every minute,” he said. “We do ask for help.”

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