Flooding strikes Ponderay trailer park again

by KEITH KINNAIRD
News editor | January 14, 2021 1:00 AM

PONDERAY — Stormwater runoff is again flooding a portion of the trailer park on Kootenai Cutoff Road.

"We're going on almost 20 years in dealing with it," said Lisa Edwards, a resident of the trailer park. "This needs to be addressed."

Edwards said the stormwater runoff is coming from private property in Kootenai and inundates a culvert in the trailer park, causing flooding on the eastern edge of the park.

"The 12-inch culvert can't handle all this water," said Edwards.

The recurring flooding has wiped out landscaping at her place and destroyed firewood and the engine of her mother's car over the years, Edwards said. A ditch was installed to direct the runoff to a place where it can pool, but Edwards said the ditch has filled in with sediment, rendering it ineffective.

"It can only hold a little bit of water," Edwards said of the ditch.

Edwards said she has tried in vain to get the park's owner, Bill Brown Rentals, to improve stormwater controls at the park.

"Everybody's pretty much been passing the buck," she said.

Bill Brown Rentals did not immediately return a message seeking comment on Wednesday.

This week's flooding has not entered into her trailer's living space, but it has in the past.

Ponderay Police Chief Jimmy Cornelius and city Planning Director Erik Brubaker evaluated the flooding from a patrol vehicle on Wednesday.

Edwards suspects the flooding is exacerbated by a lack of fill when the park's road was paved.

"They knew it was 18 inches below grade but they paved it anyway," she said.

Brubaker said the flooding appears to be happening due to a variety of factors.

"I think it is a combination of factors including building in a low area, older culverts under the railroad tracks, and natural flooding of seasonal drainages," said Brubaker, who added that some of the issues are evident in historical Google Earth imagery.

Edwards contends the flooding hampers access for emergency responders.

"It just keeps happening," she said. "It's not safe."

Keith Kinnaird can be contacted at kkinnaird@bonnercountydailybee.com and Followed on Twitter @KeithDailyBee.