Water water everywhere
In the last 24 hours Washington County has received 3 to 5 inches of rain, according to the National Weather Service. Now county and city officials are out looking at the damage from the flooding.
Washington County Engineer Jacob Thorius has been out since 4 a.m. today and was out until 9:30 p.m. last night looking at the secondary road conditions.
“Most of the roads we are concerned with are gravel roads,” Thorius said. “There is always a concern of rock loss on a gravel road when you have running water over the road.”
Thorius said several roads in Washington County have been closed. The roads that are currently closed include G38, or old 92, at the Crooked Creek Bridge; Nutmeg, Poplar, Kiwi avenues, and Maple Street by the English River in Kalona; Maple and 105th Street north of Kalona; and Willow Street by 130th Street in Riverside.
Thorius said other roads in the county are being monitored.
“305th Street east of Wayland may be closed this afternoon,” he said, “and maybe Walnut Street by Riverside.”
Thorius isn’t sure when these roads will reopen.
“It depends on the amount of damage,” he said. “We’ll try to work on them as quickly as we can but our main priority will be getting G38 open. Then we’ll head over to Kalona and Riverside.”
Thorius has one tip for Washington County residents when they come upon a flooded road.
“We have an engineering saying, ‘Turn Around Don’t Drown,’” he said. “Don’t go down a road that has water over the road, drive around it. You never know how deep the water on the road is. There may be a culvert somewhere that you could go into.”
Washington City Administrator Brent Hinson has been keeping an eye on the city’s sanitary sewer system.
“Right now it’s running at its peak,” Hinson said. “We’ve had 25 million gallons of water through our wastewater treatment plant in the past couple of days.”
Hinson said the sanitary sewer system is oversaturated with storm water.
“There are points where storm water can get into our sanitary sewer system and it just clogs it,” Hinson said. “There are cracks in the pipes or storm drains that get clogged and then the storm water gets into the sanitary sewer system.”
Hinson said the city is watching the lower-lying areas in the sanitary sewer water system especially. He has had some calls from concerned residents.
“We’re working on it,” Hinson said.
Another issue Hinson has heard about is flooded basements.
“We’ve had some calls about flooded basements and standing water in yards,” Hinson said. “But unfortunately with groundwater seepage there isn’t much we can do.”
Another area in Washington County dealing with flooded roadways is the City of Kalona.
“Yesterday A Avenue was closed because there was water over the road there,” City Administrator Ryan Schlabaugh said. “It is back open now.
A Avenue wasn’t the city’s primary concern.
“Our biggest concern was the west drainage ditch by Salverson Creek,” Schlabaugh said, “but it stayed in its banks.”
Schlabaugh also said the trailer park on the southwest side of town had standing water yesterday but the water was slowly receding today.
He also said the City of Kalona had its public works staff working through the night and had volunteers assisting residents.
“There is water in residents’ basements,” Schlabaugh said. “A lot of sump pumps failed. We’ve loaned out some of our submersible pumps. The fire department has also been assisting residents with pumping out their basements.”