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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, March 9, 2016
John Tennis at (360) 709-3073 or TennisJ@co.thurston.wa.us

High Groundwater Advisory for Salmon Creek Basin
Thurston County has issued an advisory in effect from March 9 - March 23 for residents living in and around the Salmon Creek area.

OLYMPIA - Thurston County is advising residents of the Salmon Creek Basin south of Tumwater to expect areas of ground water flooding similar to 2006. Current groundwater levels are higher than usual for this time of the season, so additional precipitation may result in flooding.

Important : Groundwater flooding is not the same as flooding from rainstorms or swollen rivers. Groundwater flooding comes up to the surface from below ground. It does not flood the surface and then sink into the ground. The county does not expect flooding will be as prolonged or widespread as it was in 1999 when the water levels were much higher than in 2006.

Affected locations
If you are in an area of the basin that flooded in the winter of 2006, you may experience similar flooding. Areas around 93rd avenue SW, 88th Ave SW and other low-lying areas located within the Salmon Creek Basin are already experiencing minor flooding.

Thurston County is monitoring the situation
Our staff is onsite collecting data within the basin and will continue to monitor groundwater conditions. Please check Thurston County's Emergency Operations Center for helpful tips: http://www.co.thurston.wa.us/em/index.htm and monitor Water Resources website for up-to-date groundwater data from Salmon Creek Basin: www.co.thurston.wa.us/monitoring-salmoncreek/.

Tips to protect your home and your property
If using sandbags, remember they are effective with river flooding, but not effective in controlling groundwater flooding. Groundwater is difficult to effectively sandbag and/or pump to a different location because it is not actually removed from the system, rather it is circulated back into the groundwater.

  • Remember that access to your home may be limited if your yard or driveway floods. So plan ahead.
  • Utilities such as gas, electric, phone and cable lines may be temporarily unavailable due to water damage until the water recedes. Make provisions for yourself and your family.
  • Move livestock and feed to higher ground.
  • Move cars and machinery offsite or to higher ground.
  • Septic tanks and drainfields may not function properly for a couple weeks.

Thurston County has been monitoring groundwater levels in the Salmon Creek Basin since 1999. One purpose of this monitoring is to advise area residents when high groundwater levels might require them to take appropriate precautions to avoid risks to health or property. This advisory does not mean that widespread flooding is imminent in all areas of the basin but that some areas may experience flooding at the surface from rising groundwater. The natural ability of the ground to absorb additional rainwater is limited because the amount of precipitation we have received since October 1, 2015 is nearly 45 inches. This is about twenty inches higher than we typically receive by this time during the wet season in Thurston County.



County Commissioners:

Carolina Mejia
District 1

Gary Edwards
District 2

Tye Menser
District 3