Water retention pond swells, 93 homes saved

Thursday, April 10th 2008, 8:11 pm
By: News 9

By Rusty Surette, NEWS 9

City crews and contractors pumped 11,000 gallons of water-per-minute out of a water retention pond into a nearby spillway in the Quail Creek neighborhood in NW Oklahoma City. The effort on Thursday night saved 93 homes in the area from being flooded.

Early Thursday afternoon crews noticed the pond swelled due to recent rains and started eroding a section of the dam on the northeast side. Authorities feared if the dam were to break, it would flood over 90 nearby homes.

Families who live in the area said they've never seen this much water in that pond.

"On regular days it's just a big field, but today it's a lake", said Michael Blakemore, who has lived in the Quail Creek neighborhood for nearly three years. "That's bad news. We shouldn't have to worry about this."

Worrying and waiting is what emergency responders and workers did for several hours as they brought in large pumps to empty the pond. The hope was to relieve the pressure on the section of the dam that is damaged. A city spokeswoman called it a domino effect.

"Due to the heavy rains and the water finding a point of weakness actually in the dam it's eroded to a point we're very concerned", said Oklahoma City Public Works Spokeswoman Laura Story.

No evacuations were ordered, but Oklahoma City police dispatched a number of officers into the neighborhood to hand out fliers and tell neighbors that there was risk of the dam breaking and a flood occurring.

Contractors said they were going to test other parts of the dam and make sure no other sections were eroded by the rain water. Once the tests are complete, the city will rebuild the section of the dam that was damaged.