Progress of flood protection, nine years after Souris River flood

Published: Jun. 24, 2020 at 5:39 PM CDT
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Nearly a decade ago the Minot area was devastated by a flood that tore the community down but brought us all together.

Nine years ago this week recognizable landmarks, homes, and streets throughout Minot were underwater.

“We'd been fighting the flood for weeks. And we'd had two days’ notice before we found out we were going to lose it all,” said Minot Mayor Shaun Sipma.

Sipma lived in Minot at the time and recalls his experience when he and so many others lost everything and had to completely start over.

“We lost our house, right along with everybody else down in the valley. We were actually displaced for almost four full years. We were living at my parent's house on South Hill as we took time to rebuild our house. But for a lot of folks they were trying to get back in by thanksgiving or by Christmas or by early 2012. And for some it took six months for others it took years and I'm sure many people are like even myself today where my house still isn't finished,” said Sipma.

The newest phase of the flood protection project began earlier this week between 3rd and 4th Avenue, after a pipe that brought water to the Minot Water Treatment Plant had to be relocated.

Phase MI-1 on 4th Avenue saw delays due to issues associated with Minot's Sundry water line, a 4-foot diameter raw water line.

“That line would need to be relocated and that was done through a separate program through the Northwest Area Water Supply program. Well that line would need to be relocated before the flood walls on 4th Avenue could be built,” said Ryan Ackerman, with the Souris River Joint Board.

The finished project will include six block stretch of levees, floodwalls, a new sanitary lift station, and a major storm water pump station. Construction is expected to be complete in late 2020.

Sipma said these protections are the least that can be done to avoid a repeat of the past.

“We had that false sense of security where flood control from the channelization and the dams being built we didn't think that we needed it. So that's where we've learned our lesson, I've learned my lesson. But that's one thing looking forward is mother nature is going to do what she's going to want to do,” said Sipma.

Learning from history, and working to protect the Minot area.

No one died in the 2011 flood, but it did cause hundreds of millions of dollars in damage to property and infrastructure.

You can follow the latest updates on the progress of the flood protection project at the link attached to this story.

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