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Press Release
November 24, 2008
In the Nick of Time
Salem, OR – The small and beautiful coastal community of Garibaldi is quietly celebrating a big success. Their 1,500 foot main water line, which supplies 1,000 people, 600 structures, 100 businesses and 750 employees with water, did not fail.

It seems like something folks may take for granted, but since the city's main water line, located next to the Miami River, had been exposed through numerous flood events, public safety and water availability was in question.

Fortunately local officials, Oregon Emergency Management (OEM) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) worked together prior to this year's first big storm in November to avoid a catastrophe.

Following last year's flooding the pipe had become uncovered. It was hanging over the bank and into the river and posed a significant public safety hazard. The line was sagging at two points and there was an imminent threat of failure.

If the water transmission line had been breached in the November flooding, the water supply would have been lost or contaminated. Damage would have caused more than $1 million in lost income and revenue and would have cost at least $200,000 to repair the problem.

The County applied for a FEMA hazard mitigation grant, which was monitored and administered by the state, to fix the problem. The project was completed on November 14, just in the nick of time.

The new 10 inch pipe was placed under the road. The old line was left in placed, decommissioned and capped.

The day after the storm it was confirmed by the Public Works Director in Garibaldi that the water line relocation was 100% successful.

"The water was more than six feet deep, overtopping where the pipe was once exposed and flowing onto the road," said Dennis Sigrist, Oregon Emergency Management Mitigation Specialist. "That most likely would have caused the old, exposed and unsupported line to fail in the recent flood."

The cost of mitigation prior to disaster events can be expensive, but Garibaldi residents realize that the alternative could cost even more than money.