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Eau Claire officials plan for flooding

Eau Claire (WQOW)-  It’s been a rough winter across the Chippewa Valley.

February’s record-setting snowfall has had impacts well into March. Now, Eau Claire city officials are concerned about flooding.

The National Weather Service said there’s a 34 percent chance of moderate flooding, and a 30 percent chance of major flooding. Eau Claire Community Services Director Jeffrey Pippenger said they’ve ordered additional sandbags to help with flooding and will have 66,000 bags ready. But where will they go?

“One example would be the dike area on the southern end of where we’re sitting now by the Madison Street bridge,” Pippenger said. We know that area does not come up to the 100 year flood elevation so that would be one area that we would sand bag.”

City officials will also use something called a pneumatic plug, which inflates with air and blocks water from flowing in or out.

“That will prevent the river from coming up through our storm system into the residential or different areas of the city,” Pippenger said.

The city has a couple dozen plugs to use in storm drains.

Pippenger said they’ve also been clearing catch basins around main roads so once the snow melts, the water has a place to go.

He said they don’t have time to clear catch basins on residential roads, so they’re asking for residents to pitch in.

“If you can adopt your catch basin you can get back there and clean that out to make sure that the water can access those, that would help out the localized flooding,” Pippenger said.

Emergency Management Coordinator Tyler Esh said removing the snow from your catch basin will lower your risk of flooding. Clearing the snow from around your home’s foundation, and adding sandbags can also protect your house.

“If the water gets into the house, try to make sure you don’t have valuables on the floor in the basement on the lowest level,” Esh said.

The city got money from a DNR Flood Grant Program, which it wants to use on duct built valves. They go on the end of pipes and allow them to control the water, replacing the pneumatic plugs.

Pippenger said Tuesday city officials will present the plan to the city council for approval.

Shannon Satterlee

Shannon Satterlee joined News 18 in February 2018 as a Multi-Media Journalist.

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