Whitehorse Daily Star

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Photo by Vince Fedoroff

OMINOUSLY STILL – Marsh Lake was calm late Tuesday afternoon, but South McClintock resident Frank Wengzynowski is concerned that strong south winds could wreak havoc on the existing barricade. Wengzynowski’s sundeck had to be altered yesterday to create another row of sandbags.

Fear of strong south wind still on resident’s mind

After an afternoon of hard work, the breach of the sandbag barrier at Marsh Lake has been contained.

By Whitehorse Star on August 15, 2007

Yesterday morning, water began seeping through the original barrier built along the point at the South McClintock subdivision. Frank Wengzynowski awoke to find water had come up around the back of his home and was beginning to surround it.

About a dozen members of the Marsh Lake volunteer fire crew, a Whitehorse fire crew and Wildland Fire Management, as well as members of the Marsh Lake community, began working on constructing a new barrier to protect Wengzynowki’s home, as well as prevent the spread of water to other properties in the area.

“We were taking on water through the high pile (of sandbags),” Wengzynowski said. “It was just seeping right through it, and the water kept building up.”

In addition to seepage, Wengzynowski said there was a possibility that some of the sandbags may have been punctured by debris.

Concrete blocks were set up by Emergency Measures Organization (EMO) early on in the response effort, but not in front of Wengzynowski’s property. They were in front of neighbouring properties, but by the time the decision was made to start moving concrete blocks into place, the water level was already too high in front of his house.

In order to put in another wall closer to the house to stop the flow, work crews had to cut through the wooden sun deck between his house and the lake.

“I’m not too upset about it. It wasn’t too new anyway,” Wengzynowski said with a grim smile.

Contrary to initial reports, there were still sandbags filled and on-hand which were used to build the new barrier. Two pumps were set up to lower the water level around the house, which at 4 p.m. was not as high around the back of the house as it was earlier in the day. Wengzynowski said there were 63 centimeters (25 inches) of water in his crawlspace that morning when he woke up.

“The biggest concern is that if the south wind comes up, it could give us some real troubles with the main wall of sandbags,” he said. “It hasn’t been too bad so far. For most of the last month the wind has been from the north and goes right by.

“But when it’s windy, I don’t get much sleep.”

Rick Janowicz, manager of the Department of Environment’s hydrology section, said again today that the water level is somewhat stable. It has increased one centimetre in the past three days, and currently sits at 657.343 metres above sea level.

“There are minor fluctuations, a millimetre here or there, but that’s about it. We should be at the peak or very near the peak,” Janowicz said.

The forecast today is for a high of 25 C, but the glacial melt is no longer the main contributor to the high water level.

“It may be keeping the water level up, but it’s not enough to increase the water level,” he said. “It’s the tail end of last week’s rainstorm that caused this most recent increase.” No rain is in the forecast for the next five days.

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