CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - Many have seen these stations, but few know how these pumping stations work.
The Merriwether Street Pumping Station is one of many in the area that is essential to downtown not flooding, according to Stanley Polivick, assistant public works director.
Polivick said the common misunderstanding people have is that the building pump river water, however the pumps in the building collect all of the rain water in the area from Southeast River Campus to Ellis St.
The station is home to three pumps that can at any time pump 20,000 gallons of water per minute into the Mississippi River.
Polivick said this station is essential in making sure that the downtown area doesn't get flooded.
"Literally right now, if the flood wall and these pumping stations weren't here, we'll be standing in water about to our chest," Polivick said. "The river is that high right now. With the flood wall and these pump stations, we're allowed to keep downtown dry. If it comes to thunderstorm this afternoon, no one really has to worry about that, the water will be pumped out and it'll be business as usual."
There is also a similar station next to the Isle Casino, which house two pumps that can pump 20,000 gallons per minute and a smaller one that can pump 4,000 gallons.
Polivick said if it wasn't for the pumping station the casino would be flooded and downtown could be flooded from heavy rain in less than 30 minutes.
All pumping stations are under 24 hour supervision.