Spanish Springs Residents Say Flood Control Project Failed - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

Spanish Springs Residents Say Flood Control Project Failed

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Monday's flash floods had many Spanish Springs residents on edge, with water filling streets and threatening some homes.

Now that storm has some residents saying more needs to be done for flood control.

The North Spanish Springs Flood Control Facilities were built in 2006.

The purpose is to collect flood water coming down from Griffin Canyon.

Residents pay $88 a year for it and some say it's not doing what it is supposed to do.

"It obviously failed and so I see this as a wake-up call that we should see what's wrong with the underlying design and fix it," Lois Kolbet, Spanish Springs resident said.

The $11.1 million flood control project is designed to handle a 100-year flood, funneling water from about 30 square miles in the mountains of northeast Spanish Springs.

"It looked to me like it didn't catch the water far enough up the hill to put it into the settling pond," Kolbet said. 

Dave Solaro is the Acting Community Services Department Director for Washoe County.

He says the project did its job during the biggest rain storm the area has had since it was built.

"It conveyed the water out of the canyon down along Calle de la Plata out into the first detention basin, knocked all the silts out of it, conveyed it onto the second detention basin and into the city of Sparks," Solaro said. "It worked perfectly."

Nearly two inches of rain fell in Spanish Springs in just a few hours.

But Solaro says not all of that water is designed to flow into the detention basin.

"There were areas of localized intense rain and hail that overwhelmed the storm drain systems, just along the side of the roads and coming across the roads," Solaro said. "That was not a part of this project."

Previous floods had taken out sections of Calle de la Plata. That wasn't the case Monday.

Both residents and officials agree, this latest storm is something we can learn from.

"Somebody who understands water and how it moves needs to look at how it worked and come out and look at it now while they can still see where the water went," Kolbet said.

"We analyze exactly what occurred," Solaro said. "We take a look at all of our improvements that we've done alongside roadways. We take a look and see if there is something we can do better. If we can do things better, that's what we implement into our codes."

Officials are still trying to determine what the rating of that storm was and whether it qualifies as one of those 100-year storms.

Written by Paul Nelson

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