Woodland Park company at the forefront of mitigation

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In the race to halt the energy of water in the Ute Pass area, a new system employs technology as a barrier to the flow. Developed by scientists at Colorado State University, the Rapid Installation Barrier System stops sediment in its tracks while diminishing the power of water.

Besieged this summer with unpredictable weather patterns, people threatened by deluge are fighting back with RIBS. Introduced by Landmark Earth Solutions, Inc., the systems are installed by Mallett Excavating of Woodland Park.

Last week, the Malletts, Rick, Anne and their sons Travis and Adam, installed the system at the Alpine Autism Center. The center is in the direct path of water flowing from the burn scar on the Flying W Ranch property in Mountain Shadows.

“In a big storm water still comes down but the system blocks the sediment,” Rick Mallett said.

To view the system in action, Landmark’s president, Bart Daniel, flew in from the company manufacturing plant in Kennesaw, Ga. For the past several months, Daniel has worked with the Malletts, the Natural Resource Conservation District and the Coalition for the Upper South Platte.

“We do contracting through Bart’s company with CUSP,” Rick Mallett said. “CUSP is interested in protecting structures.”

Unlike sandbags, RIBS are filled with native materials, sand and decomposed granite. “You don’t have to haul in fill material,” Anne Mallett said.

The barriers are impervious to the damaging effects of the sun’s ultraviolet rays as well as wind, rain and hail. In heights of 2, 4 and 6 feet, the barriers, of reinforced polypropylene fabric, are sealed tighter than sandbags as a result of a trapezoidal design that resists water flow.

Several homeowners in Chipita Park purchased the barrier bags before the rainstorm of Aug. 22 when Fountain Creek came roaring through the area. “The work we had done with CUSP saved the homes that had the barriers,” said Rick Mallett. “We felt pretty good about that.”

In addition to homes in Chipita Park, the Malletts installed the RIBS system at the Ute Pass Library and the adjacent Cascade Fire Department. The project was funded by a grant awarded to the fire protection district.

For more information, call Mallett Excavating at 687-6920.