The San Joaquin River Club south of Tracy endured a flood scare this week after a retention pond failure in a neighboring farm field washed out a portion of Kasson Road on Tuesday, threatening to send flood waters into the residential community.

By the end of the day the threat had been contained and an evacuation warning for the south end of the community had been lifted, but a portion of Kasson Road will need to be rebuilt before it can be opened to traffic again.

River Club President Dan Diviney said he and the club’s emergency action team has been vigilant for the past 3 weeks as storms have brought heavy rain to the region. The community sits on the northeast corner of Kasson and Durham Ferry roads right next to the San Joaquin River, which has continued to rise over the past few weeks during the storms.

“I did a levee patrol this morning about 8, 8:30 and went over here to check this,” Diviney said on Tuesday as he stood next to the stream flowing into a retention pond within the community, just on the east side of Kasson Road.

“There was a big gushing flow, and I checked on Kasson Road on the farmer’s retention pond and saw that it was in the process of collapsing. That’s when I called emergency services and the fire department.”

By that time the floodwater had carved a huge hole through the embankment underneath Kasson Road. The California Highway Patrol arrived to shut down the road to all traffic as the roadway appeared ready to collapse. By Wednesday morning the pavement caved in, leaving a wide trench across Kasson Road.

Emergency crews from around San Joaquin County mobilized Tuesday morning and set up a command post at the clubhouse within the community to coordinate the response, with the first priority to find a way to halt or slow the floodwaters coming in through the breach on Kasson Road.

South San Joaquin Fire Authority Chief Randall Bradley explained that water from Lone Tree Creek flows across farm fields toward the river, and a series of retention ponds on the neighboring farm field serve as a flood control system. They lead to a series of ponds within the River Club, eventually draining to the river. But with the level of the San Joaquin River rising, the failure of the retention pond embankment in the farm field and failure of the culvert at Kasson Road many of the homes at the south end of the residential area were at risk of flooding.

“There’s so much water coming from the creek that it collapsed the culvert and washed out the road underneath, so now we’re going to have a very large influx of water into these lakes, and more water than the outflow can handle,” Bradley said.

“Our mitigation measures are to slow the water down at the roadway by filling it up with material. We’ve got county public works coming right now, and the other piece, we’re working with the state to get large pumps out here to pump out the lakes as this water comes in.”

“We’re hoping we’ve got the right resources out here. Everybody’s working together I think we’re going to be good.”

By Wednesday evening San Joaquin County Public Works arrived to drop rocks and other material into the breach on the farm field pond, which reduced the flow of water. By that time the evacuation advisory for the south end of the residential community had been lifted.

Diviney said that the River Club’s proximity to the river and experience with past floods has taught the community to prepare to act quickly when the threat of a flood becomes evident.

“We just had a meeting on Sunday with OES and District Supervisor (Robert) Rickman so these guys were pretty well prepared for it,” he said. “These guys are just doing a wonderful job, reacting to us and getting notification out to the people that might be affected if it does overflow our lakes.”

“We’re just trying to keep everybody calm and collected and it seems to be working pretty good. We’ve stood up our emergency action team for a couple of weeks now. We’re just monitoring the situation, walking the levee and keeping an eye on this thing now.”

• Contact Bob Brownne at brownne@tracypress.com, or call 209-830-4227.

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