Flood Money Well Spent

The flooding of eastern Iowa’s rivers in 2008 caused widespread evacuations and billions in damages. With assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management’s Public Assistance 406 Mitigation program, the town of Palo has since found ways to alter the flow of excess water to minimize losses to residents and businesses in future floods.

For example, according to a press release on Media Newswire, the sanitary lift station was on a cement pit before the floods of 2008. After the floods, the project was redesigned so that the lift station now sits two feet higher.

“Immediately we became proactive to elevate everything we could,” said Tom Watson, Palo’s Infrastructure Commander. “We feel we are extremely well protected.”

And while before the floods the lift station had two 10-horse-powered pumps to pump sewage out of Palo, it now has three 100-horse-power pumps. The new pumps successfully kept sewage out of basements when the area received nine inches of rain in 48 hours last September.

Palo officials have also found better ways to divert water. Whereas in the past, diverting water from a culvert to avoid flooding a road might have ended up flooding a farmer’s field, adding another culvert to divert flood waters to an open area beside a different road allows the water to seep into the ground and bypass the heart of the town.