FORT IRWIN, Calif.--The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles district sent a four-person team of engineering professionals to the National Training Center at Fort Irwin to assess damages to the installation after flash floods from a storm hit the post Oct. 5.
There were no loss of life or injuries reported from the flash flood event; however, the flood caused damage to Fort Irwin roads, buildings and to newly constructed channels.
The team, consisting of civil, hydraulic, and design cost engineers, arrived at the post upon request of the installation’s Department of Public Works and began their assessment of damage to the installation on Oct. 15.
The post is no stranger to intense rainfall. In August of 2013, the NTC received rainfall – approximately 2.5 inches in two hours – that brought significant damage to the infrastructure resulting in over $65 million in damages.
“In September 2014, the district completed a stormwater management plan for the cantonment area at Fort Irwin,” said Chadi Wahby, a civil engineer with the district’s Engineering Design Branch. “The plan was completed at the request of the Fort Irwin DPW after the storm event in August 2013.”
The stormwater management plan identified alternatives and provided a recommended plan to improve the stormwater management system at Fort Irwin.
In June of 2014, DPW additionally requested support for 64 areas of flood risk concern. These areas called for the construction of new channels, restoration of existing channels, raising the elevation of berms and levees, and construction of debris and detention basins for sediment and water management.
Eight contracts –valued more than $25 million -were awarded for the repairs and construction projects that support the plan. Construction began in January of 2015 and most were completed by the fall.
Last month’s storm brought 1.8 inches of rain in 45 minutes, resulting in an estimated $5 million worth of damages. This was an unscheduled test of the channel systems that were recently constructed and repaired. The initial assessment determined that there was a 92 percent reduction in damage to the NTC.
“Overall the system worked as designed and expected,” said Wahby. “There is some minor repair work which were detailed in our team’s report we just completed.”
“The stormwater management system performed well; we identified some problem areas that we will address, and recommend future projects to be completed to the NTC,” said Capt. Mike Wiehagen, a district project manager.
The NTC conducts tough and realistic training to prepare brigade combat teams and other units for combat, while taking care of Soldiers, Army Civilians, and family members. The Corps was challenged to complete the construction and repairs called for in the plan and the additional work identified with minimum disruption to training and daily operations at the NTC.
“The strong partnership that we have with the NTC and the Fort Irwin Garrison ensures that critical rotational training interruptions are minimized and the protection of life and safety remain a top priority for the Los Angeles District during natural disasters,” Wiehagen further commented.
The stormwater management plan is designed for a 100-year rainfall event an event which has a 1 percent chance of being equaled or exceeded in any given year. The plan also provides an additional sustainable benefit by allowing more water to percolate into the underground water basins, which is where Fort Irwin draws its water.
For more information concerning the stormwater management plan and other projects at Fort Irwin please visit the district’s website: http://www.spl.army.mil.