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Local

DePue gets $687,000 for floodwall work

Project will help to protect wastewater treatment plant

Jim Harmon, employee of the village of DePue, stands in front of the town's wastewater treatment plant, that will be protected by a taller levee to prevent flooding from the Illinois River after the town received $687,000 in funding from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Association.
Jim Harmon, employee of the village of DePue, stands in front of the town's wastewater treatment plant, that will be protected by a taller levee to prevent flooding from the Illinois River after the town received $687,000 in funding from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Association.

DEPUE — DePue officials received some good news this week when the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) released $687,062 in pre-disaster mitigation funds to construct a floodwall and floodwater storage basin to protect the village’s wastewater treatment facility.

Village President Eric Bryant Sr. said Thursday when he received the news that the village applied for the funds nearly two years ago with the assistance of North Central Illinois Council of Governments. The village must pay an additional $76,340 for the project.

“We got a lot of work that needs to be done to the plant, but we can’t spend any money until we raise the levee around the plant,” he said. “This is good news.”

The work is needed, Bryant said, since the village was close to losing its wastewater treatment plant in the 2013 flood. Floodwaters reached elevations of 461.67 feet in April 2013, coming within inches of topping the levee, which ranges in height from 460.5 to 461.5 feet

Village staff and volunteers stacked sandbags to prevent the plant from flooding. If that would have happened, all operations of the plant would have been halted, meaning pumps and associated equipment would become inoperable and water tanks filled with floodwater.

Sewage would continue to flow to the facility via the gravity-fed sewer system, resulting in untreated sewage pumped and diverted into nearby Lake DePue. Sewer backups through the village would have also occurred.

It would take six months and at least $2.5 million to restore operations at the plant valued at $10 million, according to the scope of work plan filed with its application for FEMA funds.

The village proposes to raise the levee by constructing a six-foot concrete floodwall, increasing the elevation of the levee by about five feet, which is above the 500-year flood level of 464.9 feet.

The wall will be built using one cubic yard pre-cast concrete blocks that have tongue and groove type edges to prevent sliding. The blocks will be stacked three high to increase the levee’s elevation with the lowest block embedded into the earthen levee by two feet to resist sliding during floods. An aggregate/concrete foundation would also be constructed for the blocks to improve stability.

The village will reconstruct and elevate the roadway into the plant to ensure that the entire perimeter of the plant is protected. The chain link fence surrounding the facility will also be replaced.

A compensatory storage area of about 14,000 cubic yards would also be constructed on land just north of the plant on village-owned property to mitigate the impact of work happening in the floodplain.

FEMA also reported that it released $365,428 in funds to the city of Peru for the construction of a floodwall to protect the city’s wastewater treatment plant. Peru will also provide $121,809 in remaining funds for its project.

“The Pre-Disaster Mitigation program enables communities to implement critical mitigation measures to reduce or eliminate the risk of loss of life and property,” said Janet M. Odeshoo, deputy regional administrator, FEMA Region V, in a press release Thursday.

“These flood reduction measures will protect the wastewater treatment plants in these communities from flood damage, lessening the financial impact on individuals and the communities when future flooding occurs in these areas.”

‘“The projects made possible by these grants will enable Peru and DePue to better protect their wastewater treatment facilities from floodwaters and, as a result, better protect the health and safety of their citizens,” said William P. Robertson, acting director of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, in a press release.

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