Water pumps being installed to control flooding in Alexander Co. Ill.

Water pumps to Alexander County

MCCLURE, Ill. (KFVS) - Water pumps are on their way to northern Alexander County, IL to help reduce the severity of flooding that is impacting homeowners and could close roads.

The State of Illinois is paying for the ten water pumps which are being brought in from all over the US to be installed at a river levee near unincorporated community of Gale.

Certain neighborhoods in East Cape Girardeau, Ill. and McClure, Ill. are underwater because of the swollen Mississippi River and heavy rains.

Steve Ferris has lived in the area for decades and says they need the extra relief.

"People are terrified here,” Ferris said. “They’re terrified because they’re thinking that water is getting up and its going to destroy their homes.”

Ferris says some of his neighbors in McClure are using boats just to get to work, while others are completely stranded in their house.

“Honestly it’s getting so bad that I’m thinking about selling my home, and I’ve been here 31 years,” Ferris said. “This is a very poor town and trying to come up with the money to rebuild your home, I don’t see that happening. Something needs to be done because it’s going to get worse.”

On Friday May 21, crews started working on a solution to help the problem by creating the rock platform where the 10 water pumps will be placed.

Alexander County Engineer Jeff Denny says the devices will push out 80,000 gallons of water per minute from the flooded communities and into the river.

"You've got to have a pretty high pumping capacity to even make any sort of dent in this big a pool of water," Denny said.

Denny says the flooded area rising 3/4 of an inch every day, so their goal is to slow it down.

“Right now we have no permanent to discharge water. It’s all gravity gates," Denny said. "Hopefully we are going to have enough that the water we have now that we will be able to control the inflow coming in and keep it from getting any worse barring any big rains.”

Denny says another big concern is the high water could block traffic if it goes over state highway 3 and state highway 146.

“It’s an important thing you know because they are going to close the Chester bridge tomorrow,” Denny said. “So then if something happens to Route 146 and you can’t access the Cape bridge now you are between Cairo and St. Louis to get between the states - so I mean it’s a high priority thing.”

The installation work will continue this weekend, and Denny says they will likely start pumping water on Monday June 3 and the work will continue for at least two weeks.

Copyright 2019 KFVS. All rights reserved.