By: Erica Byfield
PADUCAH, Ky. - You may look at the floodwall and assume these cement slabs are what's going protects the city from flooding, you're slightly correct. From what we found out the secret to making sure we don't see water rushing down Broadway are the parts and pieces underground.
When mother nature lets loose Paducah's pumps kick into action to get rid water through an underground network of pipes and flap gates. "If it rains harder we turn more pumps on, if it backs off we turn pumps off" said City Engineer Rick Murphy.
How does the floodwall actually work? First you need to understand the two separate systems, the wall protects the city from water of the river rising. Second, components below ground that work to pump out all the stuff you put down the drain, after it's cleaned at the waste treatment plant. "If the river is not high enough the water can free flow by gravity through the wall without having to be mechanically pumped" said Murphy.
But when it starts raining hard and the systems' overwhelmed, the 60-year-old gage lets technicians know to bypass step two and quickly funnel the water out to the river. "What we put into the river is really minuet to what's there... what we put out there won't hurt it at all" said Floodwall Superintendent Kenny Branon.
It is those aged pipes underground that the Army Corps of Engineers is worried about. "They are corrugated metal pipes, they are 60 plus years old and nothing last forever" said Murphy; the corps wants to make sure nothing like Katrina ever happens here. "What's going on locally and through at the country is that the corps of engineers is going to make everyone fix everything so that you don't have a Katrina event happen anywhere" said Murphy.