People return to homes in Olive Branch after floods
OLIVE BRANCH, IL —
People returned to their homes in Olive Branch, Illinois four days ago. The water has gone down multiple feet since Tuesday.
Using a backhoe as a reference, the water was up to the tracks which is about 3 feet of water, but Thursday it’s dry ground. Still, many people are concerned they are just a heavy rain away from being underwater again.
"From our point of view it’s pretty devastating" Rick Brizendine said.
As Brizendine begins cleaning up his property, he says he feels like its a never ending chore
"We have to bring out the water, clean the carpets, and do a lot in the walls that we haven’t gotten to you." Brizendine said.
He says and his neighbors are cleaning up with one eye on the river, concerned the waters will rise again.
"Definitely we’re concerned," he said. "It flooded earlier, like mid-year last year."
However, Alexander County Highway Engineer Jeff Denny says the Len Small Levee isn’t getting fixed anytime soon.
"It’s going to be another week or two before the water recedes out of those areas and we can see what sort of shape the levee’s in" Denny says.
But the water isn’t the only problem with the mile-long breach
"Just from some of the pictures and video we’ve seen, it looked like it cut the over bank off," Denny says. "There’s 40 to 50 feet deep scour holes, so that makes it tougher to do."
"We have to keep going," he adds. "It would be a losing battle if we walked away. You just have to count your loses and move on."
Ultimately, the levee district is in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers rehabilitation program. So, they will be responsible for 80 percent of the fix, with 20 percent coming from local dollars, but there is still some question as to how the county will come up with that funding.
There are still many areas south of Olive Branch that are still flooded. Engineers tell us they hope the water goes down enough over night that those roads finally become drivable.