EDWARDSVILLE — As April showers approach Madison County officials are keeping an eye on drainage issues.
Chairman Kurt Prenzler said it’s been nearly a year since flooding hit the county, but there is less concern this spring due to preparations made by the Metro East Sanitary District, Special Services Area No. 1 and local townships.
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“We can’t control everything, especially the weather,” Prenzler said. “But we are controlling what we can.”
Prenzler said changes within MESD and SSA1 are expected to prevent flooding that residents in Nameoki and Choteau townships experienced last year.
“Last year’s problems were caused by what we call ‘interior’ flooding,” he said. “That’s flooding that takes place behind the Mississippi River levee systems.”
Stephen Adler, executive director of MESD, made system-wide improvements to avoid the flooding that happened last spring.
“When the rains began last year, Horseshoe Lake was 406 feet above sea level, 2 feet higher than its normal level of 404 feet,” Adler said. “The 10 inches of rain that fell raised the lake to 408 feet, and the storm water in Pontoon Beach had nowhere to go.”
This year, MESD lowered the lake to 402 feet to create additional storm water capacity.
“We added roughly 1 billion gallons of additional water storage to the lake,” Adler said.
Last summer and fall, MESD workers, aided by crews from Nameoki and Chouteau townships, cleaned storm water ditches and culverts.
“Township officials told me the ditches have never been cleaner,” Prenzler said. “Clean ditches means the water is getting to where it needs to go and our hope is it makes a big difference.”
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