Washington County rolls out flood response plan as preparations begin

March 14, 2019 06:10 PM

Officials are rolling out a flood response plan in Washington County, as the St. Croix River Valley braces for the possibility of major spring flooding.

River flooding isn't happening yet, but some communities are dealing with street flooding due to melting snow and rain.


Now, before it gets worse, the volunteer effort to prevent flood damage is getting underway. Volunteers are being coordinated and mobilized through the newly created Washington County Flood Response 2019 Facebook page.

Washington County Emergency Management told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS that cities will develop their own flood plans, which about 10 communities are already doing. Their office will then lay the groundwork for resources.

Preventing flooding in homes with sump pumps

"It's not sit and wait," said Bayport City Administrator Adam Bell. "It's do a lot of work behind the scenes, make sure the pieces are in place where if they have to be put into action, they're ready to go."

Bayport is a city along the St. Croix River that's dealt with severe flooding in the past. Bell said Public Works crews have been clearing storm drains and jetting sewers this week, in an effort to cut down on flooding issues.

"We're a unique community in that a lot of the water comes up through the ground, so it's not just from cresting of the river," Bell explained.

For the first time in eight years, city officials in Bayport are getting the sandbags ready.

Stillwater to build 15-foot tall temporary wall for St. Croix River flooding

"We have about 14,000 on hand, right now," said Public Works Director Matt Kline. "And, we'll be ordering about 28,000 more."

Filling sandbags will be a team effort over the next few weeks, involving city staff, volunteers and prisoners.

"They bring them in actually from multiple prisons," Bell said. "It's a work crew, so that's their job for the day or weekend."

Once the sandbags are filled, they'll be available for pickup or delivery so homeowners in Bayport can sandbag their houses.

In nearby Stillwater, city officials are preparing to build a citywide levee out of sandbags.

Volunteer coordinators told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS they plan to roll out volunteer forms and waivers for Washington County flood response within the next few days.

More on spring flooding

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Alex Jokich

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