South Carolina 2019 State of the State
Clearlake Homeowner Flood Control 1995
Helping Homeowners Protect Against Floods
“We had water up against the dam. Twice this week, it saved our house” – Helen Dore, Resident of Iberia Parish, LA
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El Dorado County Department of Transportation Bridge:
Several years ago, the El Dorado County Department of Transportation Bridge crew faced a problem. A footing on a bridge crossing Carson Creek, near El Dorado Hills, CA needed repair, but the creek was running and had to be diverted in order to complete the work. According to Gary Seaton, senior bridge maintenance worker, AquaDams® took many of the headaches out of this job.
“We used one 4′ high by 8′ wide by 50′ long AquaDam® to dam off the creek upstream, and another one 3′ high, 6′ wide by 50′ long downstream,” Seaton explains. “We installed an AquaDam® over a conduit pipe, forcing the stream to flow only through it, which allowed us to dewater the work area and at the same time maintain a constant flow downstream.”
The bridge crew used AquaDams® a second time on the South Fork of the American River, at Strawberry, CA, in December of 1998. That project entailed the repair of a footing on the Strawberry Bridge. The job required both a large and a small AquaDam®, used to divert the river’s water through culvert pipes. The only unforeseen problem was constantly rising river water that washed the AquaDams® out on several occasions. Nonetheless, AquaDams® enabled the bridge crew to complete 90 percent of its work between washouts, says Seaton.
Before learning about AquaDams®, the bridge crew used sandbags for water containment. “AquaDams® work so much easier and so much nicer,” Seaton remarks. Unlike sandbags, says Seaton, AquaDams® do not require hours of intensive labor to install, and fewer hours to maintain. “There’s very little time spent once you get an AquaDam® into place,” he says. “You have to make sure that it is large enough to hold the required amount of water back, but other than that it requires very few man hours.”
“Let’s say there’s a nice, smooth run with an AquaDam®. You can have it in the water in, say, an hour, and have everything under control.” When a job is completed, Seaton explains, the crew simply deflates the AquaDams®, rolls them up and stores them in a warehouse.
“Better than anything we’ve ever used,” is how Seaton describes AquaDams®. “They’re the best thing since the wheel when it comes to water containment. Once you get them into place you don’t have to deal with ‘em. You just have to make sure that you maintain the water pressure in ‘em. If you take a normal stream, where you have normal flow, once you’ve got them in you just go about your business. There’s not a lot of time spent maintaining them while you’re working. They’re terrific!”
P.O. Box 3292
Central Point, OR 97502
Aqua Dam, Inc.
P.O. Box 206
Carlotta, CA 95528
Attn: David Doolaege
We want to take a moment to thank you for providing us with such a great product. We appreciate all of your expertise and knowledge for installing the waterstructure dam at the recent in-stream project that we performed. The job specs called for an Aqua Barrier to be used. After talking with Hydro Solutions, who sells the Aqua Barriers, they assured us that this was the best, most durable and easiest water filled dam to install. We went ahead and purchased two 4x50foot dams from Hydro Solutions, and set a date to have their installer help us with the installation of the dam.
As you know, we had great difficulties. The installer insisted on installing the dam in a manner that we felt was much harder and more time consuming than it should have been (since we had experience installing your AquaDam last year on a similar project.). It also seemed to deteriorate the integrity of the dam. He also changed his mind several times during the installation without informing the excavator operator or the workers in the stream, which made it even more difficult.
The first Aqua Barrier was installed from the South side (opposite) stream bank to approximately 10 feet from the North side stream bank. The second dam was installed from the North side stream bank edge and overlapped the end of the first dam. To us, and others that were observing the process, this didn’t look like it would work very effectively. Consequently, when we showed up the next morning, the first dam had washed out and was deflated several hundred yards down stream. We have enclosed a few pictures that show what we had found that morning.
After having so many difficulties and remembering what a great job you did for us on the last project, we called you and informed you of our situation. We scheduled a time to install your dam with very short notice, and upon your arrival, everything went smoothly. The dam held up and we completed our work in the time allotted, which was a great concern of ours. Again Dave, we thank you for all your hard work and time. We appreciate it. (You are a water God!)
M&M Services, LLC
Just wanted to drop you a note and let you know how much I appreciated the job you did for me on my boat ramp repair. You, Kathy and Herb were a great help and it is a pleasure to deal with someone who does exactly what they say they will do. As you know, I had a quote for a sheet pile cofferdam that was almost twice as expensive as your water structure. With the sheet piling, it would have taken more than twice as long to do the repair, been very disruptive to our marina, and not nearly as friendly to the environment as your water structure. With your help, I was able to de-water the repair area and make the repairs for about what the sheet pile cofferdam was going to cost. Thanks again for the great service and I will be recommending you to other marina operators.
Clear Lake Lands Coordinator, Skip Simkins:
As Clear Lake Lands Coordinator, Skip Simkins oversees several miles of Lake County’s Clear Lake shoreline under the auspices of the public trust for the State of California. “We have 105 miles of shoreline and, granted, the area we’re trying to protect is only a couple of miles of it, but when there’s flooding you feel like a fireman going from place to place putting out spot fires,” says Simkins of his job. In fact, during extreme flooding, Simkins has had as many as 100 people working on different levees at the same time. “Manpower is a really important thing in this situation,” he adds.
This was the case in both 1995 and 1998 when Simkins’ responsibility was the flood protection of an area of reclaimed land near Upper Lake, California. For the first time, and successfully, Simkins used AquaDams® to thwart the rising waters. Prior to 1995, sandbags were the primary line of defense for this reclaimed land, according to Simkins. “AquaDams® are a much quicker, simpler way to get your flood protection,” he remarks. “It takes four men under an hour to lay out a 100-foot, 17-to-18-inch high AquaDam® wall. The same amount of flood protection from sandbag walls takes three hours, with at least a 14-man crew.” According to Simkins, another advantage of AquaDams® is that they can be air dried, rolled up, stored and reused on other projects. “We’ve done this the last two times we’ve used them,” remarks Simkins. “Once you’ve used sandbags, they’re gone.”
A further reason, explains Simkins, is an environmental one. “With AquaDams® you don’t have to worry about any deteriorated sandbags left on top of your levee. Once the AquaDams® are re-rolled and removed to storage there is no need for further clean up to the area. This also allows the natural vegetation to come right back.”
In addition to their environmentally-friendly nature Simkins cites AquaDams®’ main benefits as portability and the ability to be disassembled easily for reuse. As flood waters move along the Clear Lake shoreline, Simkins says that AquaDams® can be easily deflated and moved from point to point. “I’ve taken down as much as 800 feet of AquaDams® in a day, and re-installed as much as 600 feet in the same day, using a four-man crew in each place,” notes Simkins. “It would take you at least two days to just install 800 feet of sandbags,” he adds. “When you’re in a flooding situation manpower and time is everything.”
Simkins says he is also impressed with the service he receives from Water Structures Unlimited®. “You can’t ask for anything better. If technicians are in the locale, and they have AquaDams® with them, you’ve got them–right now. I’m sold,” he says.
Attention: Mr. David Doolaege
Subject: 12′ Aqua Dam @ Penitencia Creek
I want to thank you and your company for the use of your products on the Dixon Landing/880 project in Fremont, CA. Your company installed a 12’x120′ AquaDam downstream of our work area in Penitencia Creek to control tidal waters from entering our work area and a 4’x7O’ Aqua-Dam upstream of our work area to control creek flows. Through the use of diesel pumps we were able to divert the creek flow through our work area and into the creek downstream.
The installation and removal of the AquaDams was fast and easy, saving the project both time and money. Once the AquaDams were in place there was little or no infiltration of water into our work area. I would recommend this product to any contractor who is working in or around waterways as an alternative to conventional methods of damming or controlling the flow of water. We look forward to doing business with you in the future.
If you have any questions I can be contacted at (916) 635-9370.
STATE OF CALIFORNIA – BUSINESS, TRANSPORTATION & HOUSING AGENCY Gray Davis, Governor
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION – DISTRICT 04
21030 Redwood Road
Castro Valley, CA 94546
Office: (510) 249-1560
Fax: (510) 249-1571
CHENANGO COMMONS MANAGEMENT LLC 1 Kattelville Road, Binghamton, NY 13901-1256 607 648-3400 ext 235 July 6, 2006 Water Structures Unlimited P.O. Box 206 36 Church Lane Carlotta, CA 95528 Dear Dave: I am writing to thank you for saving the Chenango Commons building and the businesses it houses during a recent flood of the Chenango River. Chenango Commons is located on a nine-hole executive golf course on the banks of the Chenango River. When we purchased the property 6 years ago we were told the area last flooded in 1976. We have now flooded 3 times in the last 3 years. The first two floods were lessons in perseverance. We sand bagged, caulked, pumped and sucked as fast as we could and still we sustained damages in excess of $180,000. After the second flood we were dropped by our flood insurance carrier, we had to find a way to protect our building from future flooding. Whatever the solution was it had to be able to be deployed by a small crew, be temporary, affordable and reusable. It also had to be fool proof given that we no longer had the protection of insurance. We found AquaDam. We took delivery in November 2005 of a 36” AquaDam. Herb came up from New Jersey to instruct us in its deployment. Due to a long cold winter and dry spring, we never got the opportunity to actually set the Dam up. When the rains began and flooding was imminent we set the Dam up as Herb instructed. We also used the easy to follow Users Guide as a reference. We were able to deploy the AquaDam with 4 people in 3 ½ hours. I estimate the set up time to be half of that in the future, given our experience. The dam had to replace a crew of 20 who in the past worked in vain to minimize damage to the building. We could not afford to fail. The AquaDam performed superbly. Using the dam in a horseshoe shape around the building with a pump at each corner we kept the building completely dry. Several Counties were declared a state of emergency, 500 homes were totally lost displacing thousands of homeowners. Hundreds of businesses were flooded with an estimated regional loss in excess of $175,000,000. Clean up is expected to last 6 months to a year. Thanks to the AquaDam, Chenango Commons withstood the flood and opened for business the following day. Your product is so simple and worked as well as you said it would. It was simple to deploy, it was dismantled in less than two hours repacked and stored for future use. Thanks to AquaDam we survived the flood of 2006. Sincerely, Barbara & Terry Kane Barbara & Terrence Kane
Dave: I am sending a copy of an e-mail I received today from one of my tenants at Chenango Commons. More testimony for how great the AquaDam performed. BARB From: Glen Wood [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] Sent: Thursday, July 06, 2006 12:34 PM To: Kane, Barbara Subject: Flood Waters Barb, This is a note of sincere appreciation for all your efforts (and Terry’s) relative to the latest saga of flood waters here at Chenango Commons. As you are well aware, this year “would have been” the third year in a row of damage to your building and my rental space, had it not been for your foresight in discovering and purchasing building protection (I think you called it an Aqua-dam). I have said this before, however I am compelled to reiterate; more landlords would retain more and happier tenants if they displayed the same initiative, understanding and willingness to “make things right” as you and Terry continue to exhibit. I look forward to our continuing relationship. Sincerely, Glen
Roumiguiere Vineyards, in Clear Lake, California:
While there is an appeal to owning lakeside property, there are also disadvantages. Flooding is the foremost. Consequently, most lakeside property owners monitor the weather carefully.
Bob Roumiguiere of Roumiguiere Vineyards, in Clear Lake, California tangled with his first high water in 1983 after owning his lakeside home for three years. Unfortunately, the water won, leaving Roumiguiere’ s home office, garage and adjacent two-bedroom apartment standing in six-to-eight inches of water.
When the next floods arrived, Roumiguiere was prepared with plastic and sandbags. That time he laid sandbags on a layer of plastic which he then folded over them to hold them in place. While sandbagging held back the encroaching water, it also created problems. “Sandbags present tremendous work to install, and break down,” explains Roumiguiere. “They also become scarce with demand. Then you have the material to get rid of, and the problem of what to do with cloth ones, which have a tendency to rot.”
The eventual solution to Roumiguiere’ s water problem was AquaDams®. Now, when the lake rises, Roumiguiere brings out his 168 foot by three-foot high AquaDam® which he claims “Works like a charm.” Roumiguiere says he simply stores the Water Structure® by his fence and inflates it when he needs it. “I can start the pumps, roll it out, and the minute the water starts to fill it, pick it up and begin making turns with it to place it around the buildings,” he says.
Since his gravel driveway prevents a watertight seal, Roumiguiere also uses a sump pump for backup behind the AquaDam®. In typical situations this is not necessary, however.
“I think AquaDams® are great,” Roumiguiere proclaims. “During our last floods, which were the highest I’d seen, we’d have been hard pressed to have built sandbags up that high. AquaDams® work perfect. They’re so clever, I can’t believe it.”
Dear Dave, Dan & Craig:
To this date, everything is holding! You can only guess how happy that makes everyone here, especially those of us who were wallowing in the muck installing the structure.
I could tell from the first day that the product and the personnel were far more seasoned with reliability than we have experienced in the past. As the days quickly amounted to almost a weeks’ time for the installation, the water structures have held together as did the good workmanship of the entire crew. This was because of the confidence and good nature of both Craig and Dan.
We offered an unusual situation. We were the customer for the product and we were also the installation contractor. We supplied Craig and Dan with our entire maintenance crew for this very important project. I thank everyone involved. I learned quite a bit and currently we are very proud of the water structures success.
I would like to thank both Craig and Dan for keeping our project alive. Their hard work and good nature made this dam(n) thing work!!’ Thanks again.
Asst. Superintendent of Parks
City of Sacramento Drainage Superintendent:
When the pump station at Greenhaven Lake backed up, Rod McCarley, City of Sacramento Drainage Superintendent, could have had a big problem on his hands. However, McCarley wasn’t worried. He had an AquaDam® in his warehouse. Before McCarley relied on AquaDams®, as he now does, clearing the basin and repairing damaged flap gates would have required building a dam across the four-foot deep lake. “It would have been quite a dam,” McCarley says wryly. In addition, draining the lake would also have killed fish, created turbidity problems, and caused other complications by dumping dirt into water and then removing it.
“Greenhaven is surrounded by $250-to-$400,000 homes. These folks aren’t happy if their lake turns brown and muddy while I’m doing my projects,” explains McCarley. “With AquaDams® I dropped one in, did my work, let the water back in and pulled the dams. None of those other things went on.” In addition, says McCarley, using an AquaDam® cut costs to a fraction of the alternative solutions. “We consider time, cost and environmental issues on these projects,” he states.
When the City purchased several AquaDams®, the original intent was to use them for flood control. McCarley says that he now considers the AquaDams® to be vital maintenance tools as well. For instance, since the early 1990s, water quality has been a big issue with the City of Sacramento. According to McCarley, AquaDams® have become invaluable when it comes to containing chemical or diesel spills in creeks and streams. In these situations, the City has placed AquaDams® across the affected water to contain the spills. Using AquaDams® allows crews time to deal with the cleanup.
“AquaDams® have become like our backhoes, or jackhammers. When we need them we get them out and use them,” states McCarley. The City of Sacramento Drainage Department owns 10 AquaDams® and has found them to be quite durable considering their sometimes rough handling over the last 10 years. Only one has required replacement. It’s the one that was dropped into a 60-inch manhole and then filled with water to stem a sewage leak when nothing else would work. “When you have a 60-inch sewer main running raw sewage everywhere, it’s worth eating the cost of an AquaDam®,” McCarley admits.
The City’s AquaDams® have saved the City substantial money on both equipment and manpower, according to McCarley. In the past, a dewatering problem in a canal meant that crews either built an earthen dam, or constructed a sandbag barrier to block the water flow. Each process requires substantial time, equipment, and manpower. “The time and equipment savings to use AquaDams® in these situations is at least 50%, maybe more,” says McCarley. “We look at all the products that are out there, and try to get the most bang for our buck. AquaDams® are just like the other tools we use. They’re good ones.”