Watch, wait on levee cracks

10 Oct 2016 Wangaratta Chronicle, Wangaratta VIC (General News) by Jeff Zeuschner Properties doorknocked, advised evacuation could still be needed ITS a waiting game for hundreds of Parfitt Road residents who were yesterday doorknocked by authorities and advised that the Parfitt Road levee holding back floodwaters from the Ovens River remained a concern, and there was still a chance of another evacuation notice being issued. The advice was prompted by the discovery of cracks in the top of the levee on Saturday afternoon, near where a breach was found on Friday which triggered authorities to issue an evacuation notice for those in the area. Authorities had worked into Friday night to fix the initial levee breach, allowing the area to be declared safe and residents to return home shortly after 9am Saturday. An SES spokesman yesterday said the cracks found Saturday had also been repaired and there has been no increase in frequency or size of the cracks since that time, with hourly monitoring to remain in place. But he said the likelihood of a breach in the levee is still a concern and an evacuation notification may need to be reinstated should the levee be further compromised. The cracks have been sealed which may not remedy the situation but the aim is to hold the levee steady, he said. The public should keep away from the levee, as there is increased emergency services activity in the area conducting preventative work such as sandbagging. At 4pm yesterday in Wangaratta, water levels were continuing to slowly drop, and stood at 12.46 metres. Authorities forecast the Ovens River at Wangaratta to remain above the moderate flood level (12.40m) into today a situation which may be impacted by predicted further rainfall. . Continued page 3 disaster assistance from the jointlyfunded Commonwealth-State Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA). Jaclyn Symes (MLC, Northern . From page 1 The Bureau of Meteorology was forecasting rainfall totals of around 15 to 25mm from Sunday night through to Tuesday morning. Authorities said the forecast rainfall is expected to cause renewed river rises, with the possibility of minor flooding redeveloping in the upper reaches of the Ovens and King catchments from today. Rural City of Wangaratta chief executive officer, Brendan McGrath told the Wangaratta Chronicle yesterday afternoon that it was very much a watch and wait proposition over the next few days. We are working closely with the SES, CMA (North East Catchment Management Authority) and other emergency agencies, he said. Mr McGrath said that it is hoped floodwaters would continue to recede this week, allowing council staff to access areas and assess the level of damage done. Apart from the floodwaters, the ground is is just so saturated and so many roads are so very, very soft access is an issue, he said. We expect that we will find damage to roads, areas washed out. Wangaratta was, on Friday, added to 39 councils across Victoria, which are now eligible for government Victoria), who met with authorities and flood affected residents in Wangaratta on Saturday, said the activation of NDRRA allows councils and state government agencies to apply for funding to help cover counter disaster operations such as sandbagging and construction of temporary levees, and the restoration of essential public assets such as roads and stormwater infrastructure. Ms Symes said there is also funding for local councils to help with the cost of cleaning up and restoring damaged essential public assets. Mr McGrath indicated council will be looking to make application to the fund. Ms Symes said assistance is also available to support people who are suffering personal hardship. I understand some people who had to evacuate their homes from the Parfitt Road area on Friday night have accessed assistance, she said. Anyone who has been affected by the flooding should call the Victorian Emergency Recovery Information Line on 1300 799 232 for assistance. TROUBLE ON PARFITT ROAD LEVEE: This is the area of the Parfitt Road levee which is concerning authorities. The area is on the left hand side as you approach the Ovens Bridge coming into town, near the Frark Garth Reserve. On Friday a flat sink hole around one metre in diameter was discovered near the base of the levee, near the pump station. Authorities issued an evacuation notice for the area around 6pm, and closed the Ovens River bridge access to the city because of fears the levee may fail, and the area could be inunated by floodwater upto one metre deep. Crews worked into the evening to repair the levee removing loose fill from the hole, filling it with aggregate and a drain tube, then placing geotech material over the top, weighed down by hundreds of sandbags, helping balance out the weight and pressure being exerted by floodwaters. That repair has held firm and saw the evacuation notice lifted at 9am Saturday but the emergence of cracks in the top of the levee in the same vicinity on Saturday afternoon required further works with the cracks filled in and more sandbagging around the area. Caption Text: ANXIOUS TIMES: Wangaratta Caravan and Tourist Park residents (from left) Santina Porpora and son Braeyln, Mathew Bear, Bronwyn Charlesworth and daughter Violet were among those who evacuated on Friday night and went to the Emergency Relief Centre which council established at the HP Barr Reserve. Ms Porpora said there was a bit of panic as they grabbed their valuables and left in a rush. She was relieved to be able to go back home on Saturday morning, but the current watch and wait scenario is still concerning. Fridays evacuation notice was not compulsory. There are around 150 properties including a motel and caravan park in the Parfitt Road area and around 60 people registered at the relief centre. PHOTO: Jeff Zeuschner LEVEE ISSUE: Emergency authorities surveying the problem area of the Parfitt Road levee yesterday afternoon (above) and authorities in action on Friday night (below) to fix the initial breach. PHOTOS: Jeff Zeuschner, Marc Bongers Licensed by Copyright Agency. You may only copy or communicate this work with a licence.