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Controlled cut to relive pressure on Wayway berm

Photos taken at embankment near Birdtail Creek on Monday morning show crumbling earth where water has begun to seep through. About 100 feet of water is held back on the other side.

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Photos taken at embankment near Birdtail Creek on Monday morning show crumbling earth where water has begun to seep through. About 100 feet of water is held back on the other side.

Flood-fighters were to make a small cut in the embankment above Waywayseecappo late Monday night, in an attempt to draw down water from the behind the berm and reduce pressure on the crumbling earth.

Workers from Manitoba Infrastructure and Transportation said that they hoped to draw down as much as five feet of water from behind the embankment. That would release between 100–200 cubic feet of water per second, which officials said would flow gradually, and would reach Highway 45 in less than 30 minutes.

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A frozen culvert at the base of the embankment, which was holding back up to 100 feet of water from a tributary of the Birdtail Creek, was starting to show signs that it was thawing, and some water was beginning to flow through. That would also help ease pressure on the berm.

Meanwhile, efforts to pump as much water as possible over the top of the embankment were continuing. Officials said that together, pumping and a controlled breach would lower water levels and protect a weak seam in the embankment — reducing the risk of an overall failure that would threaten downstream communities with flash flooding.

However, officials cautioned that the risk of a berm failure was still high.

The province was delivering 400 super sandbags and 2,000 sandbags to Waywayseecappo Monday night to help flood-proof the community.

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