How Often Does a 100 Year Flood Occur? When experts talk about a "100 year flood" or a "500 year event," they don't actually mean that the event-- whether it is a flood or a severe storm-- will happen once every 100 years or 500 years. Rather, it is a way of expressing the probability of something happening in any given year. A "100 year" storm event has a 1% chance of happening in any given year. A "500 year" event has a .2% chance of happening in any year.
The rain was confined to the southeast portion of Enoch City and east of I-15. The results were somewhat catastrophic for over 100 homes that received anywhere from a few inches to 6 feet of muddy water in their basements.
Additionally, the inundation of storm water in basement floor drains, toilets, showers, and in to various sewer manholes caused an overcharge of the SEPARATE sewer drain system. The sewer and storm drains are not connected and should never be. The Cedar City Wastewater Treatment Facility is created to treat wastewater from inside home or commercial use.
AFTER 2012 EVENT
Enoch City Mayor, Council, and Staff immediately began the process to obtain assistance from every source to mitigate this damage from happening again. Finally, in 2013-14 the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) approved a $1,333,333 "Emergency Watershed Program" grant for construction and a $30,000 grant for design of a system to help in the area where the storm dropped the most rain. This project went through many changes.
2012 DESIGN PHASES
GENERAL FLOW DETAILS
Design #1 included basins on private property. The owners would not sell.
FINAL CONDUIT PATHS
2014 PROJECT CONSTRUCTION
The 2014 project was 75% federal grant funding with 25% "in-kind" materials & labor. The engineering firm responsible for design, permitting, & inspections was hired by NRCS. McMillen LLC from Idaho allowed Enoch City to hire local contractors to perform the specialized construction needed to install large underground piping and drop inlets along the path designated by the design.
Phase 1 of the 2014 NRCS Project was completed as designed to carry storm water for a "100-year" event. This is meant to handle 1.57 to 2.25 inches in a 60 minute period.
CREATION OF DRAINAGE ENTERPRISE FUND
Soon after the project was completed, the Enoch City Council started a Storm Drain Enterprise Fund. This action created a business-type fund/company that is kept separated from other revenues and expenses. A stand-alone company just like the water, sewer, & garbage funds. A monthly charge of $2 was added to each account in Enoch to pay for labor and materials. This adds approximately $40,000 per year for storm drainage projects. Additionally, a new Impact Fee Analysis was completed by Sunrise Engineering. This allows Enoch City to collect money from new residential & commercial construction to pay for larger projects. This money is very limited in what it can be used for and was primarily for new basins on the east side of I-15. (See later on this page). Since then, enough money has been collected to do one project and is currently being designed.
PHASE 2 in 2020
The land previously used as farmland and requested by the City to purchase as basins was eventually sold to a developer/builder and as the construction began, the City requested that the developer's contractor install Phase 2 of the 2014 project. Funding came from the money fee charged to each account.
2014 EAST BENCH WATERSHED PROPOSAL
During the 2014 NRCS Project, McMillen LLC proposed a future project along the east bench of Enoch City. The majority of the property is owned and maintained by BLM. Enoch City officials and staff met with BLM to commence planning for the proposed project. All were very willing to assist should funding be provided to follow through on all federal requirements.
CURRENT ENOCH EAST BENCH WATERSHED PROJECT
In 2018, and after applying for additional funding the previous 3 years, Enoch City was awarded $425,000 from NRCS to complete the Environmental Assessment on the proposed project. Through the required processes, Sunrise Engineering was chosen to complete all analyses of the impacts of the project. Working closely with BLM, this assessment is continuing today and well on it's way to completion. The following map is based upon increased scope of work after the 2021 storms.
No need to repeat what is known by most residents of Enoch City and our neighbors in Cedar City and Iron County. The important fact is that the storms of July 14th through July 31st were, for the most part, contained by the storm drain system in place. The following radar images were obtained by the Salt Lake City office of the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Each day includes the estimated rain total. All of these totals were within 30 minutes and 1.5 hours:
August 1, 2021
Sunday afternoon, rain & hail beat upon Enoch City in the general area of the east bench and almost exactly the same location as the 2012 event. The 2014 project was overcharged by the unprecedented amount of rainfall. A true Natural Disaster for Enoch City landowners. The estimated rainfall over the most intense rainfall of 1 square mile was 120,000,000 gallons of water.....in approximately 45 minutes. That does not include the rain surrounding that area. As water cascaded through the Homestead area and into basements, the sewer system was overcharged and backed up into many basements.
The immediate response by homeowners, neighbors, city staff & leadership was the beginning of a week of generosity and care from thousands of people, business owners & their employees, and government staff from all over Iron County, Washington County, and as far away as Salt Lake County. Within a few hours and days, most of the damage to homes affected by the river of storm water was removed and sent to the Iron County Landfill. The official report of over 1,000 tons of drywall, carpet, and personal items were removed from homes, dropped into donated garbage dumpsters, and delivered directly by volunteers to the landfill. Additionally, Iron County Road Department, Brian Head Public Works, and many others immediately brought equipment to help Enoch City Public Works fix damages to streets.
STATE OF EMERGENCY DECLARATION
Late Sunday night/Monday morning, when city staff and leadership could break away from clean-up efforts, mayor Geoffrey Chesnut signed a "State of Emergency" and sent it to Iron County Emergency Manager to be passed along to the Utah Department of Emergency Management. This action triggered a swift notification for all emergency officials up to the Public Safety Commissioner Jess L. Anderson and the Governor & Lt. Governor.
FEMA & SBA
Within 24 hours after the natural disaster of August 1, 2021, Enoch City staff, Cedar City Fire Department, Iron County Emergency Management, and Washington County Emergency Management teamed up to complete a damage assessment to apply for federal FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) assistance. Specific thresholds are required to obtain assistance. 1. DAMAGE TO GOVERNMENT INFRASTRUCTURE: Sunrise engineering created a map-based assessment tool to compile damage to streets, water, sewer, and drainage structures. Gathering photos and creating a narrative was critical to assessing repair costs. Damages must exceed the threshold of $4.2 million. In an attempt to meet the threshold, the application included damages to Iron County, Cedar City, and UDOT for a time period of multiple storms. The application was submitted to Utah Department of Emergency Management with the request for a "Disaster Declaration" from the Utah Governor that triggers the application be sent to FEMA. The total infrastructure damage repair costs came in short by approximately $1 million.
2. DAMAGE TO PRIVATE PROPERTY: A general assessment was also completed of the damage to residential and commercial buildings. The information was added to the application for assistance. The federal thresholds for types of damages were not met (basements are not applicable).
Enoch City staff created an online self-reporting mechanism to gather additional data. This portal was expanded to include a way for Cedar City residents and businesses to self-report. Cedar City shared the link with their communication methods.
NO DISASTER ASSISTANCE FROM FEMA IS PROVIDED
After a natural disaster, the Small Business Administration assesses damages to private landowners and has a program to provide low-interest loans to victims. The application process is currently open to do so and the information is available on the Enoch City homepage.
Were The Systems "Broken"?
To someone standing in the middle of their damaged property, it feels like something did not work. This is completely understandable. The sewer system is built to take dirty water away from buildings and the drainage systems are built to take storm water away from properties. These systems are built to tried and true engineering standards. A "standard" is created by measurements, such as slopes, grades, widths, depths, areas, elevations, capacities, and many other principles are used by skilled engineers to design how much the system can handle. The standards used for sewer, storm drains, water, streets, and many other services are industry standards and providers of those services require developers, homebuilders, landowners, and all utility companies to follow them.
The storm drainage and sewer systems worked for what they were designed to do and can be found in the Enoch City Ordinances, Chapter 12 and in the Engineering Standards:
The systems were not broken. With that said, the City Council is looking at the possibilities of enhancing those standards to add include protection against events such as those that occurred on August 1, 2021. Whatever standards are amended, the costs associated with higher standards will come from the current residents or the new residents who purchase a new home or a new lot. Enoch City is not a foreign and ethereal entity. It is all of the residents and landowners within the boundaries. Additional data is being compiled to discover where the inflow from rain had the greatest impact on the sewer system. Professionals are dutifully working to make any recommendations.
As previously explained, increased standards, local, federal & state funding for the East Bench Watershed Project, adding curb & gutter and other storm drainage enhancements, and continuing the constant process of enhancing the quality of life for Enoch City landowner, residents, and businesses are the goals and focus of the current Mayor, Council, & Staff of Enoch City. It takes sacrifice, information, and understanding to find & implement long-lasting solutions.
The Enoch East Bench Watershed Project is already in motion and will take some time to complete the federal approvals, funding, design work, and construction. The current engineers estimate is nearly $24 million. However, additional work is being completed by Sunrise Engineering and NRCS to bring that estimate into a realistic amount.
National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)
Affordable flood insurance is not readily available from most of the commercial insurance providers due to the risk associated with flooding. To help the public, the NFIP is managed by FEMA to mitigate risk. To become a member of the NFIP, Enoch City officials met with Utah Floodplain Management to learn the processes. A resolution was approved to start the process. At the October 20, 2021 Enoch City Council Meeting, the approval was given to apply and an ordinance was approved.
The initial phase of our membership is called the "Emergency Phase" and Enoch City will now be working on the requirements in the subdivision ordinance to improve standards on development, potential building standards according to the international building code, and other parameters of NFIP.
Landowners can obtain flood insurance from their carrier once the application is processed. More information can be located at: https://www.floodsmart.gov/
Previous work by contracted engineers have mapped the storm drainage system throughout Enoch City. Now, more detailed plans will be created and projects defined to develop a plan for major drainage improvements within the various areas of Enoch City. Since 2012, developers have had new requirements to build drainage infrastructure within their subdivisions. They have complied with the engineering standards that are used throughout the industry. Curb & gutter, detention basins, etc. have been built to those requirements and in most of the storms within Enoch City, those facilities worked as designed, or better. However, as previously stated, the extreme storms and the east bench watershed were beyond the capacity most of the facilities in Enoch City.
Drainage Impact Fee Plan & Analysis
Impact Fees are required to be paid when a building permit is submitted to the Enoch City Building Department. Utah Code determines the process and limitations through the Impact Fee Act. https://le.utah.gov/xcode/Title11/Chapter36a/11-36a.html The City hired a consulting firm in 2016 to create the most recent Plan. It is a plan based upon projected growth of Enoch City with a 6-year planning horizon. That plan and the creation of the impact fee was based on the east bench watershed project and a few localized impacts. The City Council recently approved a new Impact Fee Plan & Analysis be created based upon the changes in the last few years and the removal of the Enoch East Bench Watershed Project because that project will be obtaining federal dollars.
Using the mapped infrastructure and many other points of data, the new Impact Fee Plan & Analysis will be created and comply with the limitations of the Impact Fee Act: No money can be used for operations & maintenance, or for new infrastructure that will increase the current level of service. All this is defined in detail in the Impact Fee Plan.
Infrastructure Expansion Project(s)
The City Council has been in multiple discussions regarding the future needs and have determined to do the following:
1. No immediate expansion to labor to maintain current ditches, culverts. 2. Engineering to design a city-wide expansion of drainage infrastructure....street by street. Starting with the most flood-prone areas. 3. Instead of paying and building piecemeal, bond (obtain loans) for the whole of the project(s). 4. Apply for grant and loans from every source available. 5. Communicate with residents/landowners about the plan(s)...construction & funding. 5. Raise fees (not taxes) to pay for a Revenue Bond with a 30-40 year payback. 6. Construction.
As observed throughout the last months, Enoch City residents, leadership, and staff are resilient and care for each other. As we all continue moving forward through the next year and beyond, we can accomplish the difficult and important tasks ahead. Together we can achieve anything. Divided will create nothing. Commitment is evident and we will persevere.
This page will be updated over time so keep checking back.
ENOCH CITY CORPORATION 900 EAST MIDVALLEY ROAD ENOCH, UTAH 84721
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