Siouxland Proud: Sioux City workers fight summer floods - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Siouxland Proud: Sioux City workers fight summer floods

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SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KTIV) -

Every town, big or small, has something to be proud. Like Sioux City's effort to fight last summer's floods.

Volunteers filled thousands of sandbags, backing up more than 100 city workers charged with building berms, and bagging sand.

Brian Fahrenholz, Field Services Supervisor says, "We had everything going." Once Field Services Supervisor Brian Fahrenholz got the word that the Missouri River was rising to heights not seen in half-a-century, he knew the response had to be equally historic. Brian Fahrenholz, Field Services Supervisor says, "We had every piece of equipment, and every available person out working."

Working 16-hour day shifts overlapping with 12-hour night shifts building berms, and filling sandbags to protect the city's water supply, and keep downtown dry. But, some of the 125 Field Services workers stayed after their shifts ended. Kelly Bach, Parks Maintenance Supervisor says, "It wasn't a question of whether they'll stay, it's how long are we going to stay tonight?"

Bach says sleep was hard to come by. Kelly Bach, Parks Maintenance Supervisor says, "You were lucky to get that 4 or 5 hours a night."

Ron Isaacson racked up a lot of miles in his dump truck. Ron Isaacson, Equipment Operator says "There were days where we put over 100 miles a day just driving back and forth."

He delivered dirt to build berms, and sand to fill sandbags.

Don Nash, 2nd Shift Supervisor, says "With all the volunteers, I think they went through hundreds of cubic yards of sand."

Don Nash took that sand, and helped folks fill thousands of bags in the Tyson Events Center parking lot. Don Nash, 2nd Shift Supervisor, says "We'd put 6 or 7 big piles of sand here, and within four hours, the citizens would make sandbags out of them. It was just overwhelming."

Ted Wogan worked with Don Nash on the 2nd shift. Ted Wogan, 2nd Shift Worker says "I was shocked at how many people showed up to build sandbags." Shocked, but satisfied. Ted Wogan, 2nd Shift Worker says "The community really came through. If it weren't for all those folks building sandbags, there's no way we would have done it."

In Riverside, Chris DeHarty spent his days plugging storm sewers with concrete. Chris DeHarty, Sewer Dept. Worker says, "Otherwise the river water would have came up the storm line and caused flooding in town, and in low-lying areas." But, there was a risk. Chris DeHarty, Sewer Dept. Worker says "It was a double-edged sword. You either filled them with concrete, to stop the water from flooding, and hope you don't get a heavy rain, because when you fill them with concrete, the water on the streets can't make it to the river."

That happened when heavy rain fell on the night of June 20th. Ted Wogan, 2nd Shift Worker says "It just rained like the dickens! And, we barely kept up with it." But, they did keep up... for months, until the rivers finally receded. Kelly Bach, Parks Maintenance Supervisor says, "It was a lot of people and a lot of time, and they did a really great job together."

And, what if the rivers rise again? Brian Fahrenholz, Field Services Supervisor says, "If they called us today, and said you have 5 days to do it, I have no doubt we could do it again."

Last summer, the city of Sioux City filled 250,000 sandbags in its efforts to hold back the rising river.

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