Homes and irrigation systems damaged by floods in Tooele County

Aug 2, 2021, 8:04 PM

Tooele Floods...

(A screen grab from video recorded by Stockton resident Laurali Bates. Her husband, Lonnie, says the wall of water was between two and three feet deep.)

(A screen grab from video recorded by Stockton resident Laurali Bates. Her husband, Lonnie, says the wall of water was between two and three feet deep.)

STOCKTON, Utah — People in Tooele County are still trying to clean up from the flash floods that damaged multiple homes over the weekend. Meanwhile, they’re bracing themselves for a potential second round of flooding.

Lonnie Bates lives on Soldier Canyon Road, which was washed out after Soldier Creek overflowed. He remembers watching, in horror, as a waist-deep wall of water and debris raced toward his home.

“It was just a wave of mud and debris and water… and rattlesnakes,” Bates said. “Rattlesnakes were coming down with this. I couldn’t believe it.”

The flood hit his home with so much force, Bates reported it busted through the windows and the doors.  However, Bates wasn’t just worried about his house, he was also worried about his life.

(Pumps taking the mud out of the Bates’ home after flood waters subsided. Photo: Paul Nelson)

“There was a period of time when it came down the canyon that I didn’t know if we’d get out, or not,” he said.

Eventually, the glass in his widow wells shattered, sending thousands of gallons of floodwater into his basement. He said that part of his home is completely destroyed.

Bates said, “Inside the house, it went to the ceiling.”

Bates has friends and neighbors who brought their pumps to get rid of the mud, however, Bates said there were so many rocks and sticks in the water, the pumps kept jamming. Additionally, people brought an excavator to dig a trench around his home, just in case more storms bring more floods to Tooele. 

Meanwhile, in nearby Tooele, volunteers filled sandbags at a UDOT facility at the south end of the city to prepare for more floods. City resident Rick Parkin took two pallets worth of bags, saying he needed to better protect his house from being flooded, again. 

Parkin’s neighbor’s unfinished landscaping became a serious problem.

Parkin said, “His [dirt] ran off into my yard and filled into my house.”

He was completely surprised at this level of flooding. Other residents, like Brett Keeler, said nobody was adequately prepared for that much water.

(Volunteers filling sandbags in Tooele. Photo: Paul Nelson)

“I don’t think anybody was really expecting that big of a storm. We haven’t had one like that for several years, and I’ve been out here all my life,” Keeler said.

The storm also caused significant damage to irrigation systems throughout the county. The city of Stockton posted a message on Facebook saying the town’s intake had been blocked by debris and that no one should use the irrigation system until the problem was resolved, although culinary water use was still acceptable. 

Later in the day, the Settlement Canyon Irrigation Company posted they needed to shut their irrigation system down.

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Homes and irrigation systems damaged by floods in Tooele County