Salt Lake City crews trade in desk work for 24/7 flood watch

May 4, 2023, 6:15 AM | Updated: 8:33 am

"Stream Team" (KSL-TV)...

"Stream Team" (KSL-TV)


SALT LAKE CITY — Watching the creeks and rivers in Salt Lake is a 24 hour 7 day a week operation that is being handled by what they call “The Stream Team.”

The crews come from the Salt Lake City Public Utilities department and are usually working office jobs not walking along river banks.

“6 p.m. to 6 a.m. The whole night. We don’t stop. We keep an eye on everything. About 24 hour stops tonight,” Araceli Arche said as she checked on one location along emigration creek.

Arche usually works in customer service. But she loves a change of pace to be checking river crates to make sure they are not clogging up with debris.

“It’s a good piece of mind for me and for others,” Arche said.

Working along side her is Dave Ward, who is an investigator with the public utilities department, not a river watcher.

“No,” he said with a laugh. “We are getting used to it. Really at any moment we could have a root ball or massive debris come down and clog it right away.”

There is high tech equipment and stream gages that monitor the rivers and creeks, but Laura Briefer, the director of Salt Lake City’s Public Utilities department, said nothing beats actual eyes on the waters to know exactly what is happening.

“It’s our responsibility to make sure we provide good information to the community. The community is very concerned about risk [of flooding],” she said. “An extraordinary snowpack like this requires an extraordinary reaction.”

If the “stream team” finds something, they call Scott Swanger’s crew to come get the debris out. Swanger is the storm water manager for the department.

“It’s kind of a never ending tale of debris,” he said. “The way we are handling it is top one this year. We’ve made a lot of changes we’ve made a lot of improvements and we have a bigger team.”

Related reading:

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories

Utah Flood Watch

Record snowpack and increasing temperatures have prompted Sandy City Mayor Monica Zoltanski to issu...

Simone Seikaly

Citing rising rivers, Sandy Mayor issues emergency declaration

Of particular concern is the potential for flooding in Little Cottonwood, portions of Dry Creek, Little Willow, and Big Willow Creeks.

4 days ago

The National Weather Service still has numerous flood warnings and other advisories in place across...

Adam Small

Some rivers exit flood stage as spring runoff draws closer to an end

More rivers and creeks are exiting flood stage, some for the first time in weeks indicating an end of this year's flood season.

4 days ago

A citizen snapped a photo of the kneeboarder a week prior to Jackson-Koeven's sighting....


Warning signs posted after kneeboarder seen on swift runoff

Authorities in Murray are warning of the dangers of swift waters after a man was seen kneeboarding in Little Cottonwood Creek.

4 days ago


Andrew Adams

Hydrologist optimistic about Salt Lake County runoff picture as thunderstorm threat looms

Hydrologist, Brian McInerney, most of the significant creeks in Salt Lake County appear to be trending in a positive direction.

5 days ago

brad wilson is pictured speaking...

Mark Jones

How will the $40 million in flood mitigation be used?

Where is the $40 million in flood mitigation being spent. It's a topic that Dave and Dujanovic discuss Thursday with House Speaker Brad Wilson.

9 days ago

Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson has issued a state of emergency after spring runoff that lead t...

Simone Seikaly

Salt Lake County mayor feeling positive as watch for Memorial Day flooding begins

Highs will hit the 80s over Memorial Day weekend, and Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson says water crews are ready for flooding.

10 days ago

Sponsored Articles

close up of rose marvel saliva blooms in purple...

Shannon Cavalero

Drought Tolerant Perennials for Utah

The best drought tolerant plants for Utah can handle high elevations, alkaline soils, excessive exposure to wind, and use of secondary water.

Group of cheerful team members high fiving each other...

Visit Bear Lake

How To Plan a Business Retreat in Bear Lake This Spring

Are you wondering how to plan a business retreat this spring? Read our sample itinerary to plan a team getaway to Bear Lake.

Cheerful young woman writing an assignment while sitting at desk between two classmates during clas...

BYU EMBA at the Marriott School of Business

Hear it Firsthand: 6 Students Share Their Executive MBA Experience at BYU’s Marriott School of Business

The Executive MBA program at BYU offers great opportunities. Hear experiences straight from students enrolled in the program.

Skier being towed by a rider on a horse. Skijoring....

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking for a New Winter Activity? Try Skijoring in Bear Lake

Skijoring is when someone on skis is pulled by a horse, dog, animal, or motor vehicle. The driver leads the skiers through an obstacle course over jumps, hoops, and gates.

Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...

Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer.

Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy.

Salt Lake City crews trade in desk work for 24/7 flood watch