DUBUQUE, Iowa — It’s become a common scene after a big rainstorm in Dubuque: the fire department firing up the pump hose, sucking standing water from a homeowner’s basement.
Elsewhere around town, Public Works crews pump flood water into a manhole.
Public Works employee Bill Kelly said, “We’ve just been going from house to house, location to location, trying to see what we can do to help. “
Downpours like Wednesday night’s often turn Kauffman Avenue into a river, making cars look more like canoes.
These are scenes city leaders say are happening too often.
Civil Engineer Deron Muering said, “It’s been probably once every three years that we’ve had rains of this magnitude. “
Muering says because of the city’s hills and bluffs, heavy rain runoff has long caused flooding near the base of the bluffs.
“When you move away from the river the soils are more clay so they don’t soak up as much water and also the ground is steeper, “ said Muering.
The city is right in the middle of its Bee Branch Watershed Restoration Project. That project’s basic concept to redirect runoff water into a drainage system that leads to the 16th Street Basin. That water will eventually end up in the Mississippi River.
“This idea of having several inches or feet of water in your basement. That will be a thing of the past,” said Muering.
The Bee Branch Watershed Restoration Project is a 12 phase, $180 Million project. The city expects to complete the project by 2020.