Flooding concerns rise as ice jam forms on Chena River

Published: Apr. 23, 2020 at 6:52 PM AKDT
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Late-season snowfall followed by warm temperatures has caused rapid melting and flooding concerns across the Interior. A minor ice jam has developed along the Chena River in downtown Fairbanks. The National Weather Service says the water levels have risen 2 feet since yesterday (wed) and will continue to rise until the Ice Jam releases. Bike paths and low spots along the Chena will be inundated and the ice will damage trees and property along the riverbanks, according to NWS. Buildings are not expected to flood at this time, but residents should "keep a close eye on the river levels which may change rapidly as the ice jam builds and reforms," according to the Weather Service statement.

Residential flooding can also cause concern for those who use water wells.

The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation is reminding folks that floods can contaminate the drinking water from wells.

However, owners don't have to seek professional help, as some preventive and post-flood measures can be taken care of in-house.

"The number one most important thing would be to make sure that your well has a cap on it to make sure it has a sanitary seal," The Department of Environmental Conservation's Drinking Water Program Manager Cindy Christian mentioned. "But if your well does become inundated, you would want to have that test before you use it again. You can disinfect your well yourself, you don't need to hire someone to do that, it is a repetitively simple process using just regular chlorine bleach."

Steps for preventing and resolving well floods can be found at

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