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Flood control team works ahead of monsoon, clears out homeless encampments

Flood control team works ahead of monsoon, clears out homeless encampments
Posted at 6:13 PM, Jun 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-23 21:13:28-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — County employees are moving quickly to get ahead of monsoon. One team is cleaning homeless encampments near rivers to prevent hazardous flooding.

There’s nothing safe about flooding during monsoon. But there are ways to make flood waters a little less dangerous.

“Removing debris from our public infrastructure specifically these main water courses like the Rillito, the Santa Cruz River is very important to maintain that flowage, the free flowage of water through those channels,” Jospeh Cuffari, the Program Manager for Pima County Flood Control.

Pima County’s flood control team works to remove loose objects that could cause problems in these heavy rains.

Another hazard is homeless encampments like this one near the Rillito River. All this debris could cause flooding and blockages on roads. It could also make swift water rescues more difficult.

“There were TVs, mattresses, appliances, books, VHS tapes, a lot of cooking utensils, a propane tank, a grill,” said Craig Bonn, the Senior Supervisor for Pima County Flood Control.

Bonn says this encampment had around 20 tons of debris. The flood control team posted a notice for anyone living there to gather their things and vacate within 72 hours. This is part of their protocol for clearing out encampments.

“We’ll talk to the occupants of the camp, offer them outreach services," Bonn said. "Give them an opportunity to find some place to shelter down and get some help.”

Over the next year, the team will work to prevent flooding in the Rillito and Santa Cruz Rivers. They’ll remove built up sediment, while also inspecting the railing and loop trail around these bodies of water.