FOX47 NEWS - Levee Breaks, Sending Floods Into Homes

Jeff Angileri
Mar 23, 2009, 10:26 PM

The lakes in Dane and Columbia counties continue to rise, as people struggle to keep the water away from their homes.

Battling a chilly wind and more rainfall, construction crews worked Monday to repair the broken levee, after dozens of homes at the Crystal Lake campgrounds were inundated.

It's flooding, there's just too much water, said John Miller, Town of Westpoint supervisor. We can't get rid of it.

Dane County and Columbia County inmates helped residents fill hundreds of sandbags, on top of mounds of gravel to raise the shoreline.

If it wasn't for these guys helping us, we probably would've lost our homes today, said resident Donna Breunig.

Roaring winds and pelting rain didn't help the situation.

Right now the wind is coming so strong, it's bringing some pretty big waves across, said Patrick Beghin, Columbia Co. Emergency Management director, It's not something they need with this flood wall.

Residents say they can't imagine evacuating, and are hoping the makeshift shoreline is tall enough, and strong enough to hold back an entire lake.

When they built here they thought it was safe to build here, and felt they were not in a flood plain, said Dean Schwarz, Town of Westpoint chairperson. Now, we're dealing with the aftermath.

Fifteen homes are gonna have to be moved or they'll be displaced, Miller said. There's nothing we can do.

Residents say they plan to wait it out.

Said Breunig, This morning when I woke up I was in total tears. We have to constantly pump it. The water goes over the bags. It's a disaster zone.

The lake district asked the Department of Natural Resources to allow emergency pumping to alleviate the flooding. It's something they've done in the past. The DNR says pumping can remove 600 gallons per minute.

Right now, the DNR says it's working with the lake district to coordinate the pumps, which would bring the water 2.5 miles to the Wisconsin River. Last year, Fish Lake was pumped from July 15th through December 15th, bringing water levels in Crystal Lake down about six inches.

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