Non-functioning flap gate causes flooding concern

It’s a race against time to keep river water from pouring into Brookport, Illinois. Councilman Tom Souders said sandbags are the city’s best bet for protection.

“We are sandbagging the opening now, trying to stop it or at least slow it down,” Souders said.

The flap gate can’t close properly, so rising river water could make it through the pipe that was built to keep the city dry. With rain in the forecast, all eyes are on the gate and river levels.

“If they reach 35 foot, we are going to see some flooding in town if we can’t get it stopped where we can pump it,” Souders said.

The city is working with the Army Corps of Engineers on a plan to fully repair the gate, which Souders said went through a patch job years ago.  

Mayor John Klaffer said the sandbagging is the only quick fix. “The more rain we get, the deeper it is going to get in the city, which will eventually cause flooding in our low-lying areas,” Klaffer said.

The Corps plans to give the city a cost estimate soon. Klaffer hopes the Corps or the state can give the city an emergency grant because the city doesn’t have the money to pay for it after finally settling their finances from the deadly 2013 tornado.

“We just now got our feet on somewhat solid ground, but with not a dime to play around with with this sort of emergency,” Klaffer said.

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