|UND, city protective measures in place to guard against flood-related concerns |
The University of North Dakota and the City of Grand Forks are basically in good shape as the Red River Valley braces for flooding.
As the snow continues to melt and the water starts to flow, it brings back memories of 1997, when flood water inundated the cities of Grand Forks and East Grand Forks from several directions, forcing the University to end its spring semester early and temporarily close. At the time, several UND buildings took on water and electricity was cut in the city, including on campus. This was a very trying time for all involved.
However, since then, UND and the city of Grand Forks have taken many corrective measures to prevent future flood-related concerns on the UND campus and elsewhere. There is always the threat of flood. Even with the advances in forecasting, it is impossible to tell what the weather will do. Another possibility is the loss of utilities, which could impact the University's ability to conduct business as usual and potentially could even require the University to send students away.
Some of the measures taken by UND include:
* Pumps are being prepared.
* Sewer gates are being made ready and operational.
* Shut-off valves are identified and University staff members are preparing to take action.
* A campus flood protection plan has been updated and has been distributed to appropriate areas
* Extra pumps, hoses, boots, gloves and other necessities are in place.
* Sand and bags are ready for distribution.
* Emergency generators are on standby.
* The English Coulee is being monitored 24 hours a day to assess the water level.
* Building sump pumps are being monitored daily.
* The steam tunnel connections to all of our buildings have been sealed to prevent water coming into the buildings.
* Night staff members are watching for any indication of water in buildings.
* UND's Fargo Medical School building is protected to 45 feet by a concrete flood wall. The building itself stands at an elevation of 41 feet. It also has sewer-gate valves, which can be closed.
The city of Grand Forks has also have taken protective measures, including:
* A diversion levee was built around Grand Forks to prevent overland flooding from the west by moving water north of the city and then east to the Red River.
* The city relocated its water treatment plant from downtown to the Industrial Park, west of Interstate 29.
* Lift stations were upgraded with new pumps, reducing the risk of sewer backup which caused many of the problems in 1997.
* City storm sewers also were upgraded with sluice (slide) gates, which can be closed to prevent overload.
* The flood wall and dikes around the city provide protection up to 60 feet. The 1997 flood crested at 54 feet in Grand Forks-East Grand Forks.
* The English Coulee, which runs through the heart of the UND campus, has also had a gate installed where it flows to the Red River to prevent water backup.
* There also are pumps to control the water level of the English Coulee.
All of these measures are precautionary at this time. Even with this protection, the University remains on guard and prepared for whatever the weather has in store.