Mudslide generates questions

Mud came off the hillside and on to Okanagan Avenue, between Longacre Drive and Fulton Road, Nov. 6,

A Vernon politician is demanding answers after  a mudslide covered a road.

Mud came off the hillside and on to Okanagan Avenue, between Longacre Drive and Fulton Road, Nov. 6, and Coun. Brian Quiring wants to know what role the city’s spray irrigation program may have played.

“If we’re irrigating and a slide is a result of (soil) saturation, we have to make sure we’re not a contributing factor,” he said.

The city uses treated waste water to irrigate the hillsides above Okanagan Avenue and dispose of the city’s effluent.

A review of the Nov. 6 incident states that the slide and road damage were caused by high groundwater from the lands above and insufficient bank stability on the low side of Okanagan Avenue.

“There’s a lot of water coming off the hillside and whether it’s spray irrigation or not, has not been determined,” Shirley Koenig, operation services manager, told council Monday.

Koenig says previous studies have indicated no impact from spray irrigation on soil stability.

“My understanding is there’s always been high groundwater in the area.”

If a study were to determine spray irrigation was involved, Quiring believes the program could still continue.

“It could be controlled. There has to be some parameters,” he said.

The repairs to the road and ditching have cost about $20,000 as a result of the Nov. 6 mudslide.

That portion of Okanagan Avenue will be closed to traffic until Saturday.