Imagine living in a village that, according to a 2000 U.S. Census, had a total population of 207 people. Now imagine your village is dealing with an estimated 8 billion gal of floodwater. This scenario was no stretch of the imagination this July when the village of Gulfport, Ill., was inundated with floodwaters spilling over from the Mississippi River.
An emergency response company with 17 service centers strategically located throughout five southeastern states, Florida-based Southern Waste Services, Inc. (SWS) is well versed in disaster response. Pat Barker, SWS’s program manager for disaster response, arrived in Gulfport to assist with the dewatering efforts that joined workers from five contracting companies from across the country. The team was led by Jesco Construction Co., based in San Antonio, Texas, and included a crew from Readiness Management Support and IAP Worldwide Services.
“We were called in to get the water out of the town,” Barker said. “The first number that we got was an estimated 8 billion gal of water in and around the town. We’ve been asked to intake water from the floods and discharge it back into the river.”
SWS reached out to the Chicago branch of Godwin Pumps for 36 of its Dri-Prime pumps.
“On July 10, I got the call to mobilize 36 6- and 8-in. pumps with 70 ft suction and 200 ft of discharge hose on each,” said Jeff Pass, Godwin’s Chicago branch manager.
In total, SWS is using 22 6-in. model CD150M pumps and 14 8-in. model CD225M Godwin Dri-Prime pumps to move roughly 77 million gal of water per day. Barker said that, despite the unpredictable nature of the weather, the combined efforts of pumping and engineering expertise are working to lower the flood levels.
Returning to Normal
“The river has gone down. We’ve, at times, opened up the levee to let water out to help with the floodwaters in the town as well,” Pass said.
In addition to renting the Dri-Prime pumps, SWS has contracted a Godwin field service technician to monitor the pumps throughout the flood dewatering process.
“We’ve had a Godwin mechanic on site who has been there to service our requirements to keep the pumps running. He’s been hands-on with our guys to help them understand how the pumps work and to perform required maintenance right there at the site,” said Barker.
As the Midwest continues to reroute its deluge of water, no doubt the experience of companies like SWS and Godwin will continue to assist in safely lowering the water level in an effort to return life to normal for villages like Gulfport.