At least a few hundred residents of northwest Iowa have been without full water service for a week because of damage caused by flooding on the Little Sioux River. Stan DeRoo, manager of the Cherokee Rural Water Association, says despite having their pipes buried underground, the force and the velocity of the raging waters were able to erode the soil and wash away many of their water lines.
“We’ve had areas where there’s probably a 60 foot area that’s gone and the banks are gone. Our pipes are normally six feet under the creek bottoms. Due to the washing and erosion, it’s just taken all the dirt away. And then with all the debris floating downstream, it just breaks the pipes and we’re out of service,” DeRoo said.
Customers were initially asked to conserve their water, but DeRoo said the damage continued to grow. “Our main crossing that feeds the entire west end of system was destroyed by the floodwater,” DeRoo said.
“We still have a number of stream crossings that are washed out on the east side of the system that we’re working to replace. We’ve had a total of 9 major crossings destroyed.” There are roughly 160 customers on the east side of the association’s service area that have no water and are under a boil order.
By Dennis Morrice, KLEM, Le Mars