Maquoketa battle between wall and flood water - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Maquoketa battle between wall and flood water

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Sandbag wall near the intersection of Pershing Road and North Main Street, Maquoketa Sandbag wall near the intersection of Pershing Road and North Main Street, Maquoketa

MAQUOKETA (KWWL) -- Flood water continued to rise Sunday toward record levels.

In a battle against rising flood water, the front line of defense can come in the form of a solid wall of sandbags.

"It's not very much, as far as length and stuff like that goes, but it's very critical we get it reinforced right now," Maquoketa assistant fire chief Al Muhlhausen said.

A thick wall of sandbags near the intersection of Pershing Road and North Main Street in Maquoketa is all that stands between the swollen Maquoketa River and some critical nearby city buildings.

"If the water comes over this, then it's going to get into the rest of our infrastructure," Muhlhausen said. "It'd just make things a lot more worse in town as far as getting into our sludge lagoons and so on."

Jackson County emergency services coordinator Lyn Medinger said the city is working with the Army Corps of Engineers to keep the flood water and the sludge lagoons separate.

Emergency workers closed the North Main Street bridge over the Maquoketa River Sunday evening, just yards from the wall of sandbags, when the flood water rose higher.

"Couple years ago there was a flood, but not anything close to this," Maquoketa resident Justin Fey said. "It's never been this high."

Medinger said it would be a first if the flood crests at its projected level, which, as of Sunday night, was 35.1 feet.

"Here in '02 it was 34 [feet]. If we hit 35, it will be a record for us," Medinger said.

Maquoketa resident Jody Varner's house managed to escape flooding on the first two days, but Varner said she's not yet in the clear.

"We're just thinking we're going to be okay, but it's another day before the crest," Varner said.

As the waters continue to rise Sunday night, emergency crews wait to see whether the sandbag wall they reinforced Sunday afternoon will win the battle between wall and water.

Online Reporter Becca Habegger

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