VERNON – The City of Vernon is moving forward with sand bag removal as lake levels in Okanagan Lake continue to drop.
Phase Three of the removal started today, July 17, meaning properties along Lakeshore Drive can begin to remove sandbags, according to a media release, though anyone with flood protection within .6 meters (two feet) above the lake is encouraged to leave those in place because there may still be waves.
The first two phases are still in effect for properties adjacent to BX Creek and Vernon Creek.
The City will be providing assistance to some people with more than 400 sandbags on their property. Residents can call 250-549-6757 between 7:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. to request assistance. If approved, collection bins will be provided, though there are a limited number of bins.
The City advises most of the sand can be used as general fill and used in construction, lawns and gardens, but sandbags should not be emptied onto beaches or into creeks, wetlands or other waterways. The sand can destroy fish habitat, affect drinking water and could be a violation of the Water Sustainability Act. Violations can be reported to the government at 1-877-9527277 or *7277 on a cell phone.
Sandbags can also be taken for free to any Regional District of North Okanagan disposal facility, the operations yard at 1900 48 Ave. off of Pleasant Valley Road or the sandbag fill site at the corner of Okanagan Avenue and Okanagan Landing Road.
The City also has a set of guidelines for sandbag removal:
• Gloves and appropriate footwear should be worn when handling sandbags.
• After handling sandbags wash exposed body parts with soap and water and launder clothing.
• Wet sandbags will be at least twice as heavy as dry sandbags therefore caution should be used or assistance should be sought for lifting the bags.
• In accordance with Provincial regulations, sand from sandbags must not be placed directly into or adjacent to streams, lakes, ponds, rivers, creeks, springs, ravines, gulches, or wetlands whether or not they contain water.
• Be careful when beginning a clean-up. Be aware of potential hazards such as physical, microbiological, and chemicals. For more information refer to HealthLink BC.
For the very latest information go the City of Vernon emergency management website here.
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