The process to begin removing some of the sandbags in Lake Country has been authorized to begin.
Central Okanagan Emergency Operations (COES) has indicated the area along Middle Vernon Creek, upstream from Woodsdale Road, is considered safe for sandbag removal, having not been in contact with water for at least two weeks.
Work is underway to develop a region-wide plan for the eventual removal of all sandbags from current flood advisory areas.
For the interim, residents of areas authorized for sandbag removal can do so at their own time and expense to a depot located in the Beasley Park parking lot on Woodsdale Road.
There are about 1.7 million sandbags, equaling 1,500 truckloads of sand, set up across the Central Okanagan, so their recovery and disposal will take some time to complete.
COES advises that under no circumstances should sandbags be emptied on beaches or in any creeks, wetland or other watercourses. The impact of doing that could destroy fish habitat, affect drinking water quality, infrastructure, flood control, navigation and recreational activities.
Violators of that restriction can be reported at 1-877-952-7277 (option 2) toll-free or #7277 on a cellphone.
In most instances, sand used for flood protection can be treated as clean soil and used as general fill, substitute aggregate in construction applications or blending into gardens.
If there is potential that sandbags have come in contact with bacteria, chemicals or oils, personal re-usage of the sand is discouraged and residents should include the contents in the sandbag collection process.
While both Okanagan Lake and Kalamalka Lake are showing signs of receding, caution remains about potential future flooding, the result of either high winds or sudden influx of heavy rain.
Environment and Climate Change Canada reported Monday morning Okanagan Lake’s depth at 343.202 metres above sea level, remaining 72 centimetres above full pool.
Kalamalka Lake is at 392.366 metres, about 67 centimetres above full pool.
For more information online, visit www.cordemergency.ca.