Flagstaff mayor details plans to protect residents, homes from severe flooding

Mayor Deasy says detention basins are being built near the Pipeline burn scar and the $2.4 million project will be completed in October.
Published: Aug. 16, 2022 at 8:42 PM MST
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FLAGSTAFF, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- The Mayor of Flagstaff is being honest, saying they need help protecting families and homes from all of the severe flooding happening in the city. The mayor declared a state of emergency three weeks ago to get more money and resources. So Arizona’s Family found out how that money is being used.

We talked with Mayor Paul Deasy about both short and long-term mitigation efforts. He says more concrete trenches are needed to stop the dirt and sediment from plugging up the city’s infrastructure. But he also says a couple of projects are about to wrap up, ones he claims will be very beneficial to residents.

“People are legitimately frustrated. People are legitimately frightened as rain comes and passes on the roof,” Deasy said.

Deasy says the city is scrambling to address flooding concerns as homes continue to get slammed by monsoon storms. “Nobody should have to live their lives in their homes behind a pile of sandbags,” he said.

Deasy said the city has received money from the state and feds. Right now, detention basins are being built near the Pipeline burn scar. The $2.4 million project will be completed in October. “That will help to capture the water and debris, most importantly because it’s the debris that really damages so much and clogs up culverts in our standard infrastructure,” he said.

The city has also placed alluvial fans, which are triangular-shaped deposits of gravel or sediment, above the neighborhoods near the Museum Fire burn scar. “What this does is help spread out the water so that way it does not hit our city with such velocity that it just blows through our culverts and blows through people’s homes,” Deasy said.

Deasy said 31 homes have been damaged so far this year. Eighty-four were damaged last year.

Mike Anderson lives outside city limits in the Timberline area. He’s placed more than 7,000 sandbags around his home. Two weeks ago, flood waters washed away 700 of those. “All of this was beautiful mountain meadow. We had wildflowers and native grasses but it’s all been washed away,” Anderson said.

Deasy says he understands what residents are going through. He says it’s a work in progress. “We have many people who are working 80 hours a week trying to figure out the situation,” Deasy said.

Short term, the city has hired a private vendor to assist with pre-filled sandbags. They have allocated more than $270,000 to get 100,000 sandbags from them.