FEMA money floods Santa Clara to repair Laub Pond Dam

Photo by Chris Caldwell, St. George News | Image by Brett Barrett, St. George News

SANTA CLARA – Seven months after the community was devastated by flooding on Sept. 11, 2012, the City of Santa Clara will repair the Laub Pond Dam.

The flood caused $3.7 million in damage to public infrastructure, including the dam and city roads, and significant damage to 62 private homes and 16 businesses, the majority of which did not have flood insurance coverage. It also left many neighborhoods vulnerable to future, even small-scale, flooding.

Since the flood, city workers have built a temporary dike and dug a massive dirt trough in hopes of redirecting rainwater away from previously affected and other low-lying areas. Muscle walls, some on loan from Sandy City and Draper and others purchased by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, are acting as temporary barricades.

Starting just days after Sept. 11, Santa Clara Mayor Rick Rosenberg and other city officials have met with representatives from the State of Utah, FEMA and Sunrise Engineering to develop a repair plan for the Laub Pond Dam.

Laub Pond Dam reconstruction sketch | Image courtesy of Jack Taylor
Laub Pond Dam reconstruction sketch | Image courtesy of Jack Taylor

“We put the plan on the fast track,” Public Services Director Jack Taylor said. “We’re trying to get it done before the summer, when the rain hits.”

Built in 1919, the dam was composed mainly of native earth, rocks and concrete, with a 9-inch outlet pipe. Its strength was pushed past the limit when heavy rains in late August filled its retention basin almost to capacity; its outlet pipe was too small to drain the large amount of water. Saturated and weakened, the dam eventually collapsed due to the pressure of the rushing flood on Sept. 11.

The new dam will be slightly taller (30 feet) and much wider than the original, with a 24-inch outlet pipe. It will be built out of 24,000 cubic yards of clay, sand and other native materials and have a concrete cutout wall for added strength.

Sunroc placed the winning bid for the project and will start construction next week. The total cost of the project is $739,000, of which FEMA will pay 75 percent and the Washington County Flood Authority will pay 25 percent. The deadline to complete the project is July 12, which Taylor said can’t come soon enough, hopefully before a heavy rain.

“We’re basically just sitting here with our pants down, hoping the weather cooperates,” Taylor said. “Until we get this dam repaired, we’re wide open to another flood.” “The City of Santa Clara is very appreciative to these two agencies for paying for the project,” City Manager Ed Dickie said. “We are hoping to have the construction completed before the summer monsoons set in and are optimistic that the contractor will meet this deadline.”

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2013, all rights reserved.

Photo by Chris Caldwell, St. George News | Image by Brett Barrett, St. George News
Photo by Chris Caldwell, St. George News | Image by Brett Barrett, St. George News

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  • JVSteve April 20, 2013 at 7:16 pm

    The visual created by the quote from PSD Taylor…of the Santa Clara officials sitting there with their pants down, hoping for no rain…just about says it all. Well done!

  • philiplo April 21, 2013 at 8:52 am

    Senators Hatch and Lee both supported federal funding for these repairs. Odd, since both men constantly rail about how states should take care of their own, and BOTH voted AGAINST relief for victims of hurricane Sandy.

    Glad to see this work being done.

  • homeenergymavens.com April 25, 2013 at 8:17 am

    Great post.

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