Flood warning officially over, remediation begins tomorrow

WEST CARLETON – The combined conservation authorities officially terminated the flood warning today (May 31) that was originally issued a month and a half ago.

“Rideau Valley Conservation Authority (RVCA), in conjunction with the Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority (MVCA) and South Nation Conservation (SNC) is terminating the flood warning issued on April 19, for the areas under our jurisdiction along the Ottawa River,” RVCA manager of engineering services Brian Stratton released in a statement today. “A watershed conditions – high water safety message is in effect as all areas are still well above normal for this time of year and conditions are expected to remain that was for at least the next two weeks.”

The most recent analysis from the Ottawa River Regulation Committee (ORRC) indicate that water levels along the lower Ottawa River from Chats Lake to the Grenville/Hawkesbury area are declining steadily and that trend is expected to continue.

Residents are advised to stay away from watercourses where flows are high and where banks might be unstable. Parents are encouraged to explain dangers to children.

The watershed conditions – high water safety message will remain in effect until Friday, June 7, at 5 p.m. No further updates will be issued unless forecasted levels or conditions change.

RVCA and its Ottawa partners, MVCA and SNC monitor the water levels and weather forecasts with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry as part of the Flood Forecasting and Warning Program.

The Ottawa River Regulation Planning Board will be reassessing forecast conditions and providing hydrological condition updates on its website daily at www.ottawariver.ca/forecast.php.

To view current flood warnings across Ontario, visit https://www.ontario.ca/law-and-safety/flood-forecasting-and-warning-program.

Coun. Eli El-Chantiry told West Carleton Online today he expects it to be a busy weekend in West Carleton as flood remediation begins in earnest.

“This weekend you are going to see a lot of activity on our roads so be patient,” he said. “There’s a lot of people coming to our area to help out.”

Along with individual vulonteers, organizations such as Samaritan’s Purse, Ottawa Valley Search and Rescue and the Mennonite Disaster Response will all be operating in West Carleton this weekend.

Of the nearly 1.5 million sandbags distributed during flooding, El-Chantiry says nearly one million are in West Carleton. Earlier officials said sandbags can not be emptied on beachfront, but El-Chantiry says there has been a change of heart.

“You can empty them on the beach, but please where safety equipment,” he said. “Rake and spread out the sand so it can dry in the sun. What’s in the bags has gone through the same thing as is the sand on the beaches.”

El-Chantiry added those who still have high water in their backyards may want to wait a week before beginning remediation in order not to damage the land.

Meanwhile, the City of Ottawa announced today (May 31) the city is still in a State of Emergency.

“The City of Ottawa will remain in a state of emergency this weekend while thousands of volunteers work to remove sandbags and debris from properties in flood-affected areas,” city staff released in a statement this afternoon.”

Recovery operations this weekend include volunteer coordination to remove sandbags and debris from flood-affected properties in West Carleton, Bay and Cumberland; special garbage collection schedule continues in flood-affected areas; and door-to-door wellness visits continue.

All homeowners who need support and assistance with flood remediation work inside their home, or with the dismantling of sandbag walls, can call 1-844-547-2664 to request assistance.

City staff reminds the public to keep boats away from flooded communities.

“Please stay off the Ottawa River in and around the areas impacted by the recent floods,” staff said. “Boating close to shore may cause wakes which contribute to additional damage to homes and flood barriers. If your power has been disconnected, contact an Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) Inspector. Each home will have to be assessed before being reconnected by Hydro One. Homes that have experienced more serious flooding will have to hire a licensed electrical contractor. Residents should hire only a licensed electrician and avoid door-to-door salespeople. Hydro One and the ESA are responsible for restoring power and have more information about how to reconnect your home including a list of licensed electrical contractors in your area.”