Helena – In the event of another spring flood event in Augusta this year, Lewis and Clark County has several reminders for the public, as well as what resources will be available.
If water begins to flow across roadways, it is important the public obey all traffic signs and not go around barricades put up by law enforcement and road crews. Often, it is impossible to know the condition of the road underneath the water and these closures and detours are in place for public safety. Roads covered by water could collapse. Additionally, the average vehicle can be swept off the road in 12 inches of moving water and attempting to drive through it could stall your engine and cause irreparable damage.
When water is flowing down Main Street, it is also important to avoid the area. Driving through floodwater creates wakes that can push water into businesses, creating more damage than they already will have to deal with. If driving through this area is unavoidable, please slow down.
While the County no longer provides sandbags, there are approximately 12,000 still available from prior years. They are located at the Augusta Volunteer Fire Department at 408 Manix St. If necessary, sand will also be available in the parking lot, donated by the Elkhorn Community Organizations Assisting in Disaster.
Remember, do not drink, cook or wash with water from a private well that has been flooded. It can make you sick. Twenty test kits will be delivered to the Augusta volunteer fire department ahead of time for distribution if needed, and Lewis and Clark Public Health will coordinate collection and sampling. If you have questions about the safety of your well, contact the Lewis and Clark County Water Quality Protection District at 406-457-8584.
The Elkhorn COAD will have bottled water available again if wells become contaminated. The water will be at the Volunteer Fire Department ahead of time in the event of road closures preventing volunteers from getting the water to Augusta.
Avoid contact with floodwaters. All floodwater should be considered contaminated by sewage/wastewater, pet and livestock waste and other pollutants. People working in floodwaters should take precautions to avoid ingestion or contact to the extent practicable.
If COVID-19 is still a community concern, people are reminded to practice social distancing protocols should they need to pick up water or sand. This means staying at least 6 feet away from one another. Remember, health care services could be at capacity due to COVID-19 and people should do all they can to lessen the strain on services.
Finally, please remember that stream permits are required for planned projects. In the event of flooding and loss of life, property or crops is imminent, an emergency notice needs to be filed with the Lewis & Clark Conservation District, 790 Colleen St., Helena, MT 59601, email@example.com or call 406-449-5000 ext. 5. Work can be done to address the immediate emergency and the notice should be filed within 15 days after doing work.
Jeni Garcin, Communications and Community Outreach Coordinator, 447-8305, firstname.lastname@example.org