Creek Debris Raises Flooding Concerns

Thursday, February 28th 2008, 12:01 pm
By: News On 6

The job of cleaning up debris from the December ice storm continues.  In one community the focus of the work is shifting from neighborhoods to creek beds.  The News On 6's Emory Bryan reports it's an issue for all communities affected by the storm.  But, Tulsa may be in better shape because the creeks are improved and the trees are trimmed back.

But elsewhere, clogged up creeks are a big problem.

The creeks in Sand Springs are flowing now, but if there was much rain, limbs would block the runoff.  Most of the creeks in the city are unimproved, with trees all along the side.  The ice storm brought down the tree limbs and that's a potential flooding problem.  Assistant Police Chief Mike Carter is coordinating the clean up.

"Our worry is that if we don't get that taken care of we might have some flooding problems with people who have never flooded before," said Sand Springs Police Assistant Chief Mike Carter.

The city is on the last round of picking up the limbs left curbside in the neighborhoods.  Damaged trees in and around the parks have been trimmed or cut down.  The next step is clearing the limbs that could block water runoff.

Sand Springs has 53 miles of creek bed, most all of which is partially clogged with tree limbs.  The city doesn't have the manpower or the equipment to clean it all out, so they're asking the federal government to pay the cost of hiring someone to do it.

"They came out last weekend and we did a survey of our creeks and streams and it's readily apparent that it's a problem," said Sand Springs Police Assistant Chief Mike Carter.

Sand Springs has spent almost a million dollars on ice storm cleanup and finishing the job will add to that cost.

Tulsa has started surveying creeks for blockages.  The city of Tulsa has the equipment to do the job.  The question is whether it can be done quickly so the creeks are clear before a heavy rain.