Apr 03, 2019

Wisconsin Pond Helps Prevent Rising Water

In River Fall, Wis., storm water ponds help prevent rising water unlike other area towns

In River Fall, Wis., storm water ponds help prevent rising water unlike other area towns
In River Fall, Wis., storm water ponds help prevent rising water unlike other area towns.

Higher water levels in River Falls, Wis., have been steadily receding, while other cities in the area have been coping with rising flood waters.

According to the River Falls Journal, when the snowmelt first began, water could not soak in and there were a few spots in town where water was "ponding" across roads, or causing small flooded areas.

Some storm water sewers had been filled with ice following rain in December, said Mike Stifter, Operations Director. Additionally, some storm water ponds filled and overflowed, in some cases covering roads with water, according to the Journal.

Senior Civil Engineer Crystal Raleigh said none of those places had water on the road deeper than about 6 to 8 in.

"We design it so that it only gets that deep before it overflows the next thing and heads down stream," Raleigh said to the Journal.

In the town, building openings need to be a foot higher than what the prediction for an emergency overflow height of ponding water might be, according to the Journal.

If inlets or outlets are clogged, Raleigh said, water is allowed to be around 6- to 12-in. deep across a street. Everything is designed to prevent it from getting any deeper, she said to the Journal.

"That keeps us in the situation that we are in, where we don't have a lot of property damage," she said to the Journal.

Raleigh added that some basements around town did have water in them. There were people affected around town, but the city did not see widespread or severe damage, Stifter said.

It would have been a lot worse without the city's storm water ponds, and without the city's planning for worst-case scenarios in dealing with storm water, Raleigh said.

Another factor that has helped River Falls has been the Kinnickinnic River, according to Raleigh. The river has been "doing fine" and its water levels have been maintaining, unlike the Mississippi and St. Croix rivers which have a "terrible" flooding forecast for this year, Raleigh said.

"The Kinni won't have real significant flooding like that," Raleigh said to the Journal.

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