Winnebago County Leaders Tour New Milford

By: Tina Stein
By: Tina Stein

"Our whole lives are at stake here," says New Milford resident Karl Mueller.

No amount of sandbags can protect Mueller and Cheryl Knighton from fearing for the worst.

"It's a waiting game and yes there's more water and rain in the forecast with the river rising it's very scary," Mueller says.

The nearby Kishwaukee River is expected to crest eight feet above flood stage, down from ten feet predicted Sunday. So now county leaders are touring the New Milford area, talking to residents and taking note of any damage they've incurred.

"We do need state and federal help with this locally here we can't withstand all of this damage when you throw in rebuilding dams it's not possible," says Winnebago County Board Chairman Scott Christiansen.

County Engineer Joe Vanderwerff says much of the flooding comes from these new construction homes, since the builder has yet to set up a detention pond.

"When it comes across there it has to fund a place to go and it picks out the low points and unfortunately there are residents in those areas," Vanderwerff says.

If that doesn't work, the county will divert flood water away from the homes and seed this land which helps absorb moisture. But until then , these families will rely on sandbags to save their homes and as Mueller says, their lives.

The first thing the county will do is remove debris from cross road culverts so the creeks could handle a surge in water. Then they'll work on cleaning the creeks out so the water can flow more quickly downstream.

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