Concerns raised about Spring thaw in Joliet

Photo by John Francis Carbon Street in Joliet showing water pooling and sediment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joliet resident John Francis has a serious concern. “I see that with this year’s snowpack, we are in for a big thaw.” He is thinking ahead. “I think the sediment already in the river could catch with debris coming down under the bridge in the spring and create another problem.” He displayed several photos he had taken of sediment on the river and the streets. “There’s already sediment on Main Street and water pooling.” He was also disappointed about the road condition outside his house on Carbon St. He said since the county bought a lot nearby it has deteriorated.

“I thought for sure they would improve the area with all their heavy equipment using it.” Mayor Harley Sorrells isn’t so sure about the increased potential for another flood this spring due to current levels of river sedimentation. “We’ve discussed this with the county in the past,” he reflected. “I understand his concern. Personally, I really don’t think so. I don’t think the creek bed has changed, but who knows?” Sorrells said there is some debris at Joliet in the river, some gravel wash under the bridge. He understands the concern that it won’t handle the capacity of a spring flow like it used to. “It’s a big deal to muck it out. Everyone is a little concerned because of the big snow pack.” He said, the county has stepped up for Joliet in the past. “I had heard that they had put in for a grant to remove two pillars from an old railroad in the river just north of the bridge that could catch spring thaw debris.” The response to CCN’s inquiry to Commissioner John Grewell brought good news: “The County has applied for mitigation money from FEMA to remove the pillars from the river.

They would pay 75% and the county the remainder. We have received permission from the land owner to remove them. We have applied for the permits necessary for the removal. We expect to receive the FEMA grant and move forward with removal. As far as sediment in the river we have no plans nor responsibility to do anything with it. As I have stated in the past I believe the flooding would have occurred with or without the pillars at the water level we had.

As far as other preparations for runoff the rip rap placed during the flooding to protect Joliet from further flooding is still in place and we have no reason to believe it is not adequate to deal with spring runoff. I guess I would be curious as to what Mr. Francis thinks the county should do with the sediment and how we would obtain permits, funding, etc, to do anything with it?” Mayor Sorrells said, “The county did a lot of work. All that riprapping.” He considered the whole situation involving the river. “It’s not really our baby.” He said it is their job to alert the county. “We’re aware.”