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Don't get complacent, more rain expected; Olds operations director

Olds homeowners and town staff have to remain vigilant to make sure water can safely flow from properties and not damage infrastructure, because more rain is forecast
MVT Scott Greico
Even though forecasted rainfall is not expected to be as great as the last deluge that hit the province last week, Olds operations director Scott Greico says town officials and employees are preparing for the worst.

OLDS — The fact that rain is forecasted for the region again means homeowners and town staff have to remain vigilant to make sure water can safely flow from properties and not damage infrastructure. 

That’s the message from Scott Greico, the town’s director of operations. 

During an interview, Greico said town staff are monitoring the situation. 

“Rain levels are really out of our control. What we’re trying to do is prepare for the worst,” Greico said. 

That’s meant being proactive by continually sweeping the town to ensure catch basins aren’t filled with debris and can thus drain stormwater uninterrupted. 

Another is to pump water from places from the Miller pond, located off 57 Avenue in the south area of town.  

Greico noted the area has a high water table. In fact, he said, if you look on a map, ponds, creeks and other water bodies in the Olds area tend to run from southeast to northwest, toward the Little Red River and Red River. 

Residents are also strongly advised not to pump excess water into the sewer system. That only creates greater strain on a potentially already stressed system. 

They should instead be pumping it onto their front or back yards -- not toward their neighbours' yards as some are alleged to have done. 

“There is a bylaw for that. We’ve had a couple of instances that we’ve had to remind residents don’t be pumping into the storm system,” he said. 

“If you’re going to have a surge pump or a pump situated, just make sure that you’re pumping it on the property and it’ll make its way into the system. But we don’t want people further burdening our already-stressed infrastructure. 

“It is the responsibility of the property owner to make ensure that they’re disposing of their wastewater (and that includes the downspouts) in a proper fashion. You need to be putting that on your own property." 

The Town received some phone calls from residents saying their property was flooded.  

But overall, the Town “fared well” throughout the heaviest rain days, a news release from chief administrative officer Brent Williams. 

The news release, issued June 16, said the call for residents to cut back on their use of grey water had been lifted as of that date. 

Grey water comes from sources such as showers, tubs, washing machines, dishwashers and sinks. 

“The Town of Olds would like to express a sincere thank you to everyone for their diligence and cooperation in reducing grey water usage,” the news release said.  

The release also thanked employees of the South Red Deer Regional Waste Water Commission (SRDWWC) for their assistance during the rain event. 

Due to all the rain, at one point, the water level got so high that grey water was diverted into nearby ditches. 

Also, solid waste was suctioned up and deposited in an offsite disposal pond – all because a lift station on the regional line had hit capacity.