Steps Freeport residents can take to prepare for anticipated floods

Published: Feb. 27, 2023 at 10:37 PM CST
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FREEPORT, Ill. (WIFR) - With the Pecatonica River expected to reach 13-feet Tuesday morning, Freeport city leaders stress the importance of preserving quality water across the county.

In light of last week’s ice storm and the snow storm a week before that, Freeport city leaders say they’re keeping a very close eye on potential flooding concerns.

“We started noticing that the Pecatonica River was at nine feet,” says Freeport Communications Director Kevyn Sutter.

As the Pecatonica River levels climb so does concern from Freeport city leaders who worry recent snow and rainfall could flood homes and businesses and hinder travel.

“We see a lot of road closures as well in the north, northeast side of town. We have to put barricades out because you can’t as a driver determine what the structure of the roadway is underneath,” says Sutter.

Freeport knows the aftermath of floods all too well. Tom Klemm recalls the city’s most recent experience in August when most of the east side was submerged in water. The runoff gathered in the Pecatonica River creating worry over water quality.

“Years ago, we had many manufacturers that however, it wasn’t illegal at the time, there was a lot of dumping down in different rivers and we’re all paying for some of that stuff today,” says Klemm.

Klemm says the hearing at city hall Monday teaches him and others how to manage a clean and natural water supply.

Rob Boyer is the Public Works Director. He says small steps like throwing away litter before it falls into a storm drain and keeping runoff areas clear of leaves is essential for cleaner water.

“It’s not going to prevent everything, but it’s going to go a long way in raising awareness,” says Boyer. “And if everybody has an idea of what to do, you’re going to in the aggregate, you’re going to improve the condition of the river.”

The city will also find ways to prevent further runoff into the Pecatonica River from construction, street sweeping and salt cover.

The city urges people not to walk or drive through flood water because it often comes with a strong and dangerous current. Electrical panels can also become a deadly hazard.