$2M Centerville dam intended to catch debris

Feb 6 2011 - 11:48pm

CENTERVILLE -- Work on a $2 million project is expected to save residents money as well as give their homes protection against debris slides.

"It's a real hazard in Centerville," said City Manager Steve Thacker. "This is a significant project."

Debris flows last came out of Parrish Canyon in 1929 and 1930. Thacker explained such flows happen maybe once every couple of hundred years, but they are dangerous.

Now, the last unprotected canyon is having work done to increase safety.

Thacker said construction started in November to create a dam intended to intercept debris flows out of Centerville Canyon. This could potentially affect 200 homes between 100 North and 300 South and east of 400 East.

Centerville fronted $200,000 for engineering costs for the project, but Davis County is picking up the remaining estimated $1.7 million for construction costs.

As with other similar projects, Thacker said, the city initiated debris flow studies to document the risk and persuade the county to use its flood control bond money for the project.

"This is the only canyon left that doesn't have a dam on it," he said.

Four others already have a debris basin or dam built to intercept any debris flows or mudslides.

When the project is completed, it will be owned by the county.

"We appreciate that they have agreed to do this," Thacker said. "This is very significant for property owners who are downstream and right in the hazard zone."

Right now, those home-owners have to carry flood insurance on their homes, which Thacker said costs between $700 and $2,000 each year. He explained that is additional insurance money just because it's a potential risk area.

However, once the project is completed, the hazard zone status will be eliminated and people will not need to have that extra insurance. Once the project is done, FEMA will have to officially adopt the amended flood plain map before flood insurance can be stopped on the properties.

That usually happens a few months after project completion.

The project is expected to be finished by April.

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