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Flooding Massive, Damage Minimal At Snow Creek Plaza In Park City

Credit KPCW
Just underneath the cascade flowing from the broken water line outside Zions Bank, mud accumulates as water flows rapidly through the parking lot.

When a water line on Boot Hill broke above the Snow Creek Plaza shopping center, a one-million-gallon tank drained into the parking lot and dangerously close to shops.

The flow cascaded powerfully down Boot Hill past Zions Bank into the shopping center.It rushed past stores and restaurants at and below Twisted Fern, pooling into parking lot rows and submerging some cars as much as halfway. The lion’s share of it ended up forming a small lake in between The Market grocery store and the state liquor outlet.

“At 1:00, I noticed that water was coming like a river outside my showroom door,” said JoAnn Howa of Natural Instincts Interior Design. “I came running out and thought, ‘Oh my gosh,’ and could look up behind Zions Bank up into the hill to see that water is coming down like a waterfall all through that area into the Snow Creek Plaza’s parking lot bringing mud and debris as fast as it could.”

Credit Ben Lasseter/KPCW
Sandbags are the last line of defense against flood water at the doors of Baby Nee Nee.

Baby Nee Nee, an infant and children’s goods store, sits at a low point in the parking lot and got the worst of the flood. Firefighters who were laying sandbags to divert water into storm drains quickly built a wall around her door.

Tatianna Portella is the owner. It was only her second day running the store.

“I closed the deal probably about 10 days ago and have been working on it probably a couple months. We just opened the doors yesterday,” she said.

She’s had a stressful summer, having evacuated from Pinebrook with her two young children during the Parleys Canyon Fire, but she was still optimistic about the flooding damage.

“It kept going up and then came over the sidewalk, and it was just crazy. I thought it was gonna get in the front, and then the back. It did get in the back a little, and now we’re trying to contain the front, so it’s been going about two hours. We will be okay, though. If nothing happens more than what it is, it seems like we have a little bit of clean-up to do, but we can probably do that overnight,” Portella said.

By Tuesday evening, the flow had stopped after a tank holding one million gallons of drinking water was completely drained.

Credit Ben Lasseter/KPCW
Although the parking lot was almost completely underwater, The Market grocery store was able to stay open, and customers continued to buy groceries.

According to Park City public utilities director Clint McAffee, no one lost access to water.

“The contractor was digging next to a concrete block that was holding a fitting onto a pipe,” he said. “When that concrete block moved from digging around it, the fitting fell off, and it opened up that water line. And that water line was so close to the tank that we didn’t have a valve between where the fitting had come off and the tank, so we couldn’t shut it off.”

He said it was unclear Tuesday evening whether negligence was involved in the accident, but that actual damages to buildings were minimal.

Credit Ben Lasseter/KPCW
Firefighters build and maintain a sandbag wall to channel flood water into storm drains.


McAffee and the business owners thanked the emergency responders for their swift and effective effort to control the flood and protect the businesses in the shopping center.

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