Grand Forks City Council members receive 2022 overland flood and risk evaluation presentation

City Engineer Al Grasser detailed the overland flooding that occurred last month from snow melt and rainfall.

Grand Forks City Hall
Grand Forks City Hall, 255 N. 4th St. Sam Easter / Grand Forks Herald
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GRAND FORKS – An April overland flooding and risk evaluation was presented to council members during Monday’s City Council meeting.

City Engineer Al Grasser detailed the rain events and flooding that occurred last month, as well as the diversion channels and drainage in Grand Forks that mitigate overland flooding across the city.

One of the mitigation efforts within the flood protection system is the English Coulee diversion channel. Grasser said its purpose is to intercept overland flooding flows and divert water around the city.

“When the river’s high, as it recently was, we actually have to shut the gates to keep the water from backing into the city and we have to turn on the pumps,” Grasser said.

Within his presentation, Grasser showed photos from various areas of Grand Forks along the English Coulee, portraying high water after snow melt and rain caused the Red River to rapidly rise during the weekend of April 23.


Another area of town Grasser discussed was the Drain 9 diversion structure, where diversion overflow goes through the weir to maintain the flow in the English Coulee. Grasser said the gates get closed to prevent having to pump excessive amounts of water.

Also discussed by Grasser were fields west of I-29, on the southern end of the city.

“There’s a lot of water out there that we need to figure out how to deal with,” Grasser said. “Again we push(ed) a lot of our systems close to the max on that 3-inch rain, so I’m concerned with what happens when we get a larger event.”

At present, the river level is still high, impeding cleanup efforts on the Greenway.

In other council news Monday:

  • Council members approved a Task Order Agreement with the engineering firm Webster, Foster & Weston in the amount of $190,000 for the design, bidding and construction administration for replacing the controls and drives in three of the 12 flood pump stations owned by the city. The age of the stations means finding spare parts for the equipment has been increasing difficult.
  • The council approved a Cities Area Transit contract agreement with UND to provide public transportation services on campus. The city will provide rides to UND students, as well as faculty and staff who swipe their ID cards to use the buses. For students, the city will submit a monthly bill to UND’s Student Government for $0.75 for every one-way ride given with a valid ID. For faculty and staff, the city will submit a monthly bill to UND Facilities for $1.30 per every one-way ride given with a valid ID. If students, staff and faculty don’t show a valid ID, they will be charged the full adult cash fare of $1.50 per one-way ticket. Within the agreement the city will also ensure all buses are well maintained and will provide Student Government and UND Facilities with promotional maps, user guides and UND ridership statistics on the C.A.T system and Dial-A-Ride system on a monthly and annual basis.
Meghan Arbegast grew up in Security-Widefield, Colorado. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Journalism from North Dakota State University in Fargo, in 2021.

Arbegast wrote for The Spectrum, NDSU's student newspaper, for three years and was Head News Editor for two years. She was an intern with University Relations her last two semesters of college.

Arbegast covers news pertaining to the city of Grand Forks/East Grand Forks including city hall coverage.

Readers can reach Arbegast at 719-235-8640 or

Pronouns: She/Her
Languages: English
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