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Sandy Point residents seek answers as tidal floodwaters are slow to recede

Scene of remaining floodwater days after a coastal flooding event on December 27th (December 29, 2022). Photo courtesy of Jael Komac

SANDY POINT, Wash. — Sandy Point residents are reporting deep water continues to prevent many from leaving or getting to their houses after a King Tide coastal flooding event on Tuesday, December 27th. Reports are that water has been receding about 1 to 2 inches a day.

According to information provided by Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office Division of Emergency Management (DEM) and the Sandy Point Improvement Company the effectiveness of tide gates have been questioned and multiple pump trucks have been called in and were working through the night since yesterday, December 29th.

Officials with DEM said yesterday afternoon they were not informed about the floodwaters “not receding per normal operations” until yesterday morning.

Whatcom County Public Works representatives along with other officials conducted a survey and determined the tide gates were not working properly. The DEM immediately began looking for resources capable of rapidly removing the water.

Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office (December 29, 2022)

A tide gate is a mechanism designed to allow water collected in roadside ditches to flow freely back to the sea when the tide is low and closes automatically during high tide to prevent a backflow.

DEM said they had arranged for a pump truck company to being pumping water and residents reported a dump truck had delivered a load of sand and bags for those in need of sandbags.

Most Sandy Point properties are within the Sandy Point Improvement Co.’s (SPIC) area which, according to its articles of incorporation, is where it operates and maintains real property to provide use and enjoyment by the shareholders who are owners and residents of property in the area. Property owners pay an annual assessment to SPIC for these services.

SPIC published the following letter to its members on its website about 11:35am yesterday.

Letter to Members Affected by the Standing Water
DECEMBER 29, 2022

Sandy Point Members,

The SPIC staff are doing everything possible to come up with a solution to the standing water issue. The company that maintains our tide gates has been out and inspected the tide gates. Debris has been cleared and they are working. We will have 2 pumps today, one at Patos and one at Agate Lake. We will keep you up to date. The water has been very slow to drain. The ground is very saturated. Last night the standing water only lowered approximately 2 inches.

Many other communities have also been impacted by the king tides. Board Member, Ed Schild, contacted our County Executive via email. He could not get through by phone. We are calling the governor’s office and are trying to get the county listed as a state of emergency so that we can get some help. We requested assistance from the county. They informed us they are on the way down. We will keep you up to date as we receive more information.

We would like to encourage everyone to contact the governor’s office and our county executive asking that the county be classified as a state of emergency. This the second year now that our fire department is a complete loss due to flood waters.

Respectfully,

Pat Malara
SPIC President

A SPIC official later took to social media to thank all those who had provided help and assistance including the following.

  • bringing in a bobcat to clear debris from the marina’s boat launch
  • maintaining tide gates and pumping out water
  • watching pumps overnight
  • reaching out to government officials for help

Residents reported this morning that water had receded about 2 inches overnight.

DEM said yesterday they are asking anyone who sustained property damage (owners and renters, personal and business) during the “December 2022 Extreme Winter Weather” to provide that information. This is not a request for aid but the information collected will be compiled to identify the extent of the need which is used when DEM requests aid from state and federal agencies.

The online forms are available in both English and Spanish at whatcomcounty.us/reportdamage.

Those with immediate needs are advised to click here to submit a request for assistance or call 360-676-6681 during normal business hours and staff will assist you.

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