Crews working to fix large sinkhole in Grand Tower, Ill.

Fixing flood damage

GRAND TOWER, Ill. (KFVS) - Crews worked on Monday, June 15 to fix a large sinkhole.

Depending on the weather, they hope to have the temporary fix finished by the end of the week.

Drone12: Large sinkhole in Grand Tower, Ill.

The community of Grand Tower is still reeling from the damage caused by major flooding in 2019.

City Council members voted to take out an emergency loan which would cover repairs for damage left by a 28-feet wide sinkhole on Main Street.

The First Southern Bank approved the loan.

The loan is intended to fix the sanitary sewer sinkhole, a six-inch pump and a flood pump, which pumps the water out of town.

The city is continuing to wait on help from the federal government to fix the problem.

FEMA has yet to release any funds to the city for the 2019 flood damage.

Grand Tower Fire Chief Dennis Wright said time is of the essence.

“We can’t wait on this," said Wright.

According to Wright, the town may be in jeopardy due to this large sinkhole, which is the city’s main sewer drain.

“It’s still flowing now, but when it quits, most of town’s going to be blocked," he said.

The sinkhole started forming in 2019.

Currently, it’s about 5-feet deep, but if it continues to collapse it could cause bigger problems for residents.

Officials said 95 percent of Grand Tower’s sewer drains at the sinkhole location. This is why council members voted to approve an emergency loan to make repairs.

“It’s an emergency fix, so they couldn’t wait for any grants or anything, so they got to do it and do it quick,” Wright said.

Kathy Matlock has lived in Grand Tower for four years.

The sinkhole impacts her every day.

Matlock has to detour around town due to multiple barriers blocking streets, just to check her mail.

“It scares me because you just don’t know how bad it’s going to get," Matlock said. “And the sewer system, you get that all backed up and everything like that. Then it goes up into your house ruins your furniture, ruins your home.”

This is the third major sinkhole in the town since last year’s flooding.

The fire chief said while this sinkhole may be the worst, he’s still hoping for a more permanent fix.

“I hope FEMA comes through on their part," Wright said. "We get all this fixed up and next year we won’t be fooling with this stuff.”

Bids are out and the cost of the project is estimated between $50,000 and $100,000.

On Tuesday afternoon, June 9, city workers started adding pumps to prevent serious problems into the night.

According to a FEMA Spokesperson, Grand Tower has requested FEMA expedite the process. FEMA hopes to have a determination soon on the Public Assistance funding for the sewer.

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