With the City of Dell Rapids having gone through two major floods in 2019 and the prediction of more flooding possible this spring, city staff is already busy making plans to be better prepared if flooding happens again.
Dell Rapids Mayor Tom Earley, City Administrator Justin Weiland, Public Works Director Clarence Fjellanger, and City Finance Officer Claire Baartman recently attended a training in Brandon hosted by the Minnehaha County Emergency Management. The meeting was held to give a base knowledge and training of Emergency Operation Centers. Attendees of the meeting also ran through a scenario exercise of how to run an operations facility with different roles.
“You walked away with at least a lot better understanding of when things happen, why they’re happening, and who’s making the decisions. There is a process in place,” said Mayor Earley during the Dell Rapids City Council’s last meeting on Tuesday, February 18th. “It was really helpful to understand the role, not only the county, but the people who were there from the state as well.”
Along with attending the training, the city is also making other plans in anticipation of more spring flooding.
Weiland reported, “We’re just making sure we have pumps ready to go, our lift stations are capable of handling. We kind of know what to expect from the waste water treatment facility and type of things we need to be prepared for when the water starts coming in.”
Other plans include making sure utilities in the flood prone homes are secure from sewer infiltration. Staff is also putting together cost estimates to replace fencing, fix damaged electric, repairs to various facilities, as well as calculating time for cleaning up fields and the campground once the waters recede. The goal would be to get the parks up and running prior to the summer events.
The National Weather Service is currently predicting a 25-50% probability of major (>15.0 ft) flooding from mid March to beginning of April and a 50-75% probability of moderate (14.0 ft) flooding. The same prediction shows a significant probability of at least minor (12.0 ft) of flooding from mid March through mid May.