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Billings canal repaired and flowing Wednesday after weekend overflow

Posted at 10:19 AM, Jun 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-09 12:19:36-04

BILLINGS — Water flow to the Billings Bench Water Association canal was turned back on Wednesday morning after it had been dry since Sunday when it was shut off for an overflow emergency, said Jim Stott, president of the Billings Bench Water Association.

Water had been diverted at Canyon Creek since Sunday, when a tunnel blockage caused the canal to overflow into a North Side neighborhood and forced the evacuation of about 96 residences.

Stott said the canal will take three to five days to completely fill to the end.

Since the overflow, Billings Bench Water Association crews worked to fill a void in the canal bank left by an excavator that sunk into softened earth.

Crews also worked to raise the bank near the canal tunnel near North 15th Street and the section of overflow near North 19th Street, Stott said.

The now-repaired canal is one of several owned and operated by the Billings Bench Water Association that stretch for miles from Laurel to Shepherd. Stott said he hopes now that water will be flowing to ratepayers for the rest of the season.

The canal provides water for 115 residential users, four golf courses, a number of city parks, wells and 17,000 plus acres of farmland.

Last week, the canal was dry for days as water association crews worked to repair holes in the canal's liner. At the same time, city-hired geological teams analyzed cracks in the earth south of the canal that have formed near the tunnel under the rims.

RELATED: Evacuated Billings residents return home after Sunday canal overflow