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SEAL BEACH : Plan B Ready as Officials Seek Flood-Control Funds

City officials say flooding that forced the evacuation of 300 Leisure World residents and caused $3 million in damage last winter could happen again because of a lack of funding for flood-control improvements.

“If it rains hard this year, we’ve got problems,” Leisure World resident and Councilman George Brown said Monday during a council meeting.

City officials are seeking federal and county funding for flood-control improvements. Meanwhile, they are planning backup measures for both the retirement community and downtown locations that are routinely flooded during heavy rains.

At Leisure World, a bulldozer will be parked near a catch basin that overflowed Jan. 4 during a heavy rainstorm. The basin collects water from Leisure World drainage channels and empties into the San Gabriel River flood-control channel.

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Leisure World has permission from the Department of Water and Power to use the bulldozer to dig a temporary channel, in case of emergency, to guide water from the catch basin to another nearby channel used by a power plant, according to Howard McCurdy, president of the community’s governing Golden Rain Foundation.

The DWP channel carries seawater to the Haynes Generating Plant for cooling.

“If that had been done last time, it would have taken care of most of the flooding,” McCurdy said.

In downtown areas, city officials are considering bringing in hand-operated water pumps and asking county firetrucks to be on call to pump out areas prone to flooding.

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Brown said these steps will not resolve the problem.

“In the long run we have to put in bigger and better drainage ditches, and that’s in our plans,” Brown said. “There’s no time set, just plans, with no money.”

A community flood-control meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday, at Growing Tree Preschool, 223 Seal Beach Blvd.


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