Culvert Awareness

Flood Preparedness/Spring Runoff Awareness


With warmer temperatures and snow melting we can expect the usual spring runoff issues. Frozen culverts can create problems with the natural flow of water and we have crews trained and dedicated to looking after these issues. Lacombe County has developed a Flood Mitigation Plan in order to quickly and effectively deal with flooding and flood-related issues. The plan addresses immediate, medium and long-term processes in order to properly and safely manage a flood event.

We ask that our residents be cautious and avoid venturing into unsafe areas where there may be washouts or other spring runoff. First and foremost is the safety of the public and staff. Watch for hazards when approaching flooded areas and washouts! Ensure the road is stable.

Residents are advised to call the County Office (403-782-6601) or County Shop (403-782-3567), or email  to ensure that drainage issues are properly recorded. We will ask you to give basic information to the Operations Department about the flooding of a road or a plugged or frozen culvert. This information will assist the staff in dealing with the requests.

The Operations Department will be responsible for coordinating and prioritizing action based on the need and severity of the situation. Please note that Lacombe County crews do NOT go onto private property to clean out or steam the culverts.

In the spring and our crews are diligently checking roads dealing with the issues. In extreme weather events, bridges and major culverts may also be threatened. The steamer truck is used for opening up frozen culverts. This piece of equipment is especially important in the case of a slow melt where the temperatures drop at night causing the culverts to be blocked with ice.

Lacombe County monitors water levels and weather conditions due to the annual spring runoff. We have staff dedicated to checking roads and directing employees on when and where steaming, road repairs, or barricades and warning signs are required.

Media releases will be used to keep local residents informed of road closures and dangerous areas. In extreme conditions, daily updates on the Lacombe County website will also be used to keep residents up to date.

Lacombe County staff is very experienced in dealing with drainage issues but in extreme events, staff will have to prioritize the areas of concern. Localized flooding is the situation that is most common in Lacombe County but these are usually short-term with minor traffic disruptions.

Major flooding is more prevalent on the Blindman River and the Medicine River and the bridges south of Bentley are the most prone to possible damage. The bridges in the northwest area of the county, which mostly are standard bridges, also may be threatened. Implementing detour routes and road and bridge repairs will cause inconvenience but should not isolate any residents.

Even though we can predict many of the problem areas it is important to recognize that it could be countywide and other areas may have problems. One frozen culvert or beaver dam may create situations that require attention but we will work diligently to address all the issues as quickly as possible.