Dumping over pumping: Brookport is throwing their snow into the Ohio River
By Chad Darnall
Brookport, IL -
From our area to Louisville, Kentucky there are flooding concerns. The National Weather Service reports the Ohio River is at least 37.6 feet in Brookport, Illinois. That's about half a foot higher than their flood stage.
It's only going to get higher, the Ohio River will not crest in Brookport until next Tuesday. It's expected to crest at four feet above flood stage.
Brookport's flood flaps were closed last week, because of the winter storm. Since water can't flow freely into the Ohio River melting snow and water could back up.
Brookport Councilmen Tom Souders said they've been using backhoes, dump trucks, and dozers to pick-up snow and dump it into the river.
“If we don't get the storm drains clean the water will stand at the curbside back out to almost the middle of the street,” Souders said.
Souders said they've probably dumped 300 loads into the water and still have at least 200 more.
It seems a little unconventional to use these large machines just to pick-up some snow and ice, but their motors are running for a reason. Souders said it cost the city about a $100 an hour for their 70-year-old pumps to run melted snow into the Ohio River.
“Diesel fuel is not that high right now. It's cheaper to haul it out outside there and push it off in the river and let it melt outside of town,” Souders said.
He said they only started picking up and hauling snow into the river instead of letting it drain in the last two years.
The only way they're able to afford these expensive machines is through three government programs - the Law Enforcement Surplus Program (LESO) as well as the State and Federal Surplus Program.
Souders said he hopes the new administration in place will continue having these much-needed programs to help their city.