On November 15th, 2021, the City of Merritt was evacuated due to flooding.

On November 23rd, 2021, at 12 noon, residents of the Bench neighbourhood were able to return home on an Evacuation Alert, under a Boil Water Notice. This means that all water should be brought to a rolling boil for at least one minute, and then allowed to cool, before it is consumed.

For information about when residents of different areas of the City can come home, please see the Return to Home Plan

 

Background

City staff have been working 24-7 throughout these changing circumstances with one main priority in mind: the safety and wellbeing of our residents. External resources have been brought into the City to assist in assessing the flood damage to structures and assist the utilities department to return the water and sewer systems to an operational status.

High flood waters rendered the City’s Wastewater Treatment Plant inoperable, and continued habitation of the community without sanitary services presented risk of mass sewage back-up and personal health risk. The drinking water system was contaminated by flood water, and continued habitation of the community without drinking water presented risks to personal health.

EVACUATION ORDER AND ESS RECEPTION CENTRES

An Evacuation Order was issued for the entire City of Merritt, and has now been revised. As of November 23rd at noon, the Order covers everywhere south of the RCMP station in town. People who are in the Evacuation Order area should make arrangements to evacuate for their own safety, and register for Emergency Support Services.

For a list of ESS Reception Centre locations and hours, visit https://www.merritt.ca/essinformation/

Evacuees can register online https://ess.gov.bc.ca/ or contact 1-800-585-9559 for more information.

FLOOD INFORMATION LINE

Merritt residents are able to call the Merritt Flood Information Line for evacuation and flood-related inquiries.

Hours of Operation: Daily from 8:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Contact: 1-877-655-0341

RAPID DAMAGE ASSESSMENT & DISASTER FINANCIAL RELIEF

The Province has declared that overland flooding in the Merritt area is a Disaster Financial Assistance “eligible event”.

Disaster Financial Assistance is meant to provide financial support to assist individuals, small businesses, and municipal governments in recovering from a disaster and restoring damaged property to its pre-disaster condition.

Trained inspectors have been brought into the City to conduct Rapid Damage Assessment of the properties that were directly affected by the floods. Following the RDA process, homes will be tagged as green, yellow, or red – a process will be put in place to allow people with ‘green’ tagged homes to return home to collect possessions and begin remediation efforts. Updates will be provided here.

Residents have 90 days to apply for DFA assistance, and the deadline for this event is February 12, 2022. To learn more and apply, visit https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/emergency-management/preparedbc/evacuee-guidance/disaster-financial-assistance

CITY ACCESS

No access is permitted through the RCMP barricades unless personnel are authorized by a City of Merritt issued wristband.

CONTAMINATED DRINKING WATER

The City of Merritt’s water supply was contaminated during the flood, and the system is being flushed and wells brought back on line. Water in the Evacuation Order area remains under a “DO NOT CONSUME” status as per the Interior Health Authority. The water is undrinkable, even if boiled. We strongly urge residents who have chosen to remain in this area not to consume any water.

Residents in the Evacuation Alert area who have been able to return home should bring their water to a rolling boil for at least one minute and then allow it to cool before consuming it.