Drains, water pumps key to falling floodwaters in Alexander Co. Ill.

Drains, water pumps key to falling floodwaters in Alexander Co. Ill.

ALEXANDER COUNTY, Ill. (KFVS) - More floodwater is being flushed out of Alexander County, Illinois thanks to gravity drains and water pumps that are working around the clock.

Crews leading the effort said the Mississippi River is now two feet lower than the seep water level inside the levee, which means more water can flow out through the seven gravity drains that were recently opened.

Louis Colter lives in East Cape Girardeau and her house backs up to flooded A-Frame homes.

Colter has stayed at home most of the flood and said it’s been hard to see the water rise for so long.

“It was hard to look over there and it’s going up into the windows and the doors of my neighbors,” Colter said.

But Alexander County Engineer Jeff Denny said they’re now in a much better position.

“The water inside we’ve dropped almost a foot and a half over the past couple of weeks, so a much better improvement for everybody concerned,” Denny said.

Twelve water pumps are continuing to push more than eight million gallons of water per hour over this Alexander County levee and back into the river.

Engineer Jeff Denny said the discharge more than doubled once all seven gravity gates opened.

“You know some places you couldn’t even see the gates you know to even open them and then some places you could just see the hand rail on the top of the water, and now you can see 10 feet of it," Denny said. "There is more water coming out of the gates then we’re pumping.”

The water pumps have been running 24-7 for almost two months now and Denny said their persistence with the effort paid off in the long run.

“You would of had probably a couple more feet of water in here at the maximum which would’ve been bad for East Cape, bad for McClure,” Denny said. “And then you probably would’ve added weeks that the state highways would’ve been closed, so it’s hard to see that benefit but it’s definitely there.”

But with the hope of seeing waters recede comes the uncertainty of what homeowners will find in the wake of the natural disaster.

Colter’s storage shed is just outside of the sandbag wall and was at one time filled with at least 2-feet of water.

“I don’t even really want to open the door and look," Colter said. "A lot of things I did not want to lose and now I’m sure we have.”

Denny said they will continue to run the water pumps until water is off sandbag walls and all the state highways are dry.

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