SRP begins long process of cleaning canals - FOX 10 News |

SRP begins long process of cleaning canals

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SRP crews are hard at work cleaning the miles and miles of canals that snake throughout the valley. It's the annual cleaning of the canals.

"It's a very dirty job and a big one."

No mops or brooms for this job. SRP is bringing in the heavy duty shovels.

They shovel silt, a mixture of sand and clay, which settles in the bottom of the 131 miles of canals snaking through the valley. It slows down the water flow.

"We need to get in there to clean the canal. We do it in the off season. Water demand is higher in the summer then in the fall," says SRP supervisor Jeff Lane.

One of the big jobs for SRP -- cleaning out the trash that is tossed in the canal.

"There's going to be a lot of things in this canal that we need to get out. We've found shopping carts, a safe, a corvette."

They found a street sign here, and that's not all. They found lots of plastic bottles and even part of a shed at the bottom of the canal.

But before they can drain the canals, they have to herd their valuable weed-eating fish to safe wet areas.

"When we are herding the fish we are walking through 3 to 4 feet of mud," says Justin Schnonhoff, SRP supervisor. "Backbreaking work to get those fish out."

The dry canals give workers a chance to patch up the wall linings and repair the gates -- and workers manage to do all of this in 30 days.

SRP will resume cleanup again on January 4th in Tempe, Mesa and South Phoenix.

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