February of 2019 presented significant challenges for EID staff. We received record, or near record, rain and snow totals across much of the region.
The low snow levels produced conditions that many of our operators haven’t seen in a generation. The heavy precipitation “atmospheric river” events created saturated soil conditions.
District personnel spent long days and many long nights keeping the facilities that our customers rely on operational—all the while adhering to EID’s guiding principle of 100% Safety.
Excessive back-to-back snow accumulations along with widespread extended power outages created challenges for the drinking water team. Challenges included accessing facilities inundated by snow, chemical delivery timing, regulatory monitoring obligations, and much more.
EID’s wastewater division staff dealt with power outages to sewer lift stations, infiltration and inflow concerns, facility flooding, and accessibility (including road washouts, snow, ice, and flooding).
Over 100 trees fell along the El Dorado Canal causing tree damage to five separate wood flumes. The Pacific Tunnel section of the system was blocked with trees and ice. All this damage required an extended shutdown of the Canal.
Personnel from multiple divisions and departments were brought in to help out with shoveling miles of walkways for patrolling, plowing access roads to the canal and powerhouse, and helping with the removal of debris and flume reconstruction.
While not as affected as other divisions, Recreation felt the effects of the snow. Roadway damage and facility damage were thankfully some of the biggest problems. Recreation staff also worked with PG&E so that they could use the boat launch area as a helipad. Recreation staff, like countless workers across the District, pitched in to help out in other divisions as needed.
This event was an “all hands on deck” event and our staff performed with excellence and dedication to ensure vital services were not affected for our customers.