Irrigation Ditch Overflows, Floods Billings Neighborhood

There were reports of property damage but no injuries

By Associated Press

BILLINGS — An irrigation ditch that had been undergoing repairs overflowed and caused minor flooding in a Billings neighborhood, triggering a recommendation for people living in about 100 residences to temporarily relocate for safety.

Water from the Billings Bench Water Association Canal flooded into nearby streets Sunday morning but later subsided. There were reports of property damage but no injuries, Lt. Brandon Wooley said.

Firefighters went door to door in the area asking people to evacuate. Some people left but others stayed, Wooley said.

The ditch carries water to farms and other water users primarily outside the city. It began to overflow after a tunnel it passes through became clogged with debris. Representatives of the water association said much greater damage would have occurred if they had not been able to quickly unclog the tunnel.

Water that flows into the ditch from the Yellowstone River was diverted in an attempt to prevent further flooding,

It was expected to take up to 10 hours for the flow to stop and a city fire official said people were expected to be able to return home safely by Sunday evening.

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