Friday, September 27, 2013

Colorado Recovers From Flooding

Two weeks ago, Colorado was hit by an intense storm system which caused flash flood conditions. The state had been in the midst of a drought after battling wildfires earlier this year and was not prepared for the "biblical" rain fall (National Weather Service).

The TIME Science and Space reported that the average rainfall in September for the Boulder area is 1.7 inches, compared with the previous all time record of 9.59; the recorded 17.27 inches of rainfall that fell two weeks ago is extreme.

The flood waters caused damage to private property, contaminated water supplies, destroyed existing infrastructures such as roads, bridges, pipelines and electricity poles. The contaminants in the water mostly resulted from sewage spills caused by flooded septic tanks at the commercial (animal feed plants), private home and at the city level (Lyons). There are also concerns about contamination and cleanup from oil spills.

The floods caused several other energy problems as well. Rushing water damaged electrical equipment, power lines, and pipelines. Xcel is faced with repairing an estimated 20 miles of natural gas pipelines. However, they will need to wait until the flood damaged roads are able to stand the weight of the repair vehicles. In addition, Xcel will need to make strategic repairs in the short term to ensure safe operations and will need to re-engineer entire stretches of the existing infrastructures.

DU is hosting a Flood Relief Fundraising Feast event on October 8th. Please attend and help support the communities hit hard by the flooding.