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June 07, 2011 10:31 AM

Oahe Dam At Maximum Release

pierre, sd

The Oahe Dam is now discharging from the reservoir at the rate of 150,000 cubic feet per second and the river level below the dam is at 1434.1 feet.  That's right on track with what the Army Corps of Engineers expected.

The pool above the dam is at 1619.2 feet, which is less than a foot below the reservoir. That's expected to now drop for the next week or so before rising again.

The flow rate at the Gavins Point Dam will be increased Tuesday from 120,000 CFS to 130, 000 CFS Tuesday; half at 8:00 a.m. and half at 3:00 p.m. The remainder of the schedule has not been changed.

Two Black Hawk helicopters with hoists from Minnesota are now in South Dakota, one at Pierre/Fort Pierre and one at Dakota Dunes, to help with levee construction.
  • In Pierre, city crews are working 12-hour shifts as they monitor how levees hold up to the changing water levels. Mayor Laurie Gill says the most critical area of utilities are the storm sewers; crews are working around the clock to monitor those routes between the river and behind the levee. A diver had to plug one storm sewer from the river side of the levee and was successful. The Sully Avenuee levee has made significant progress and should be done shortly. It will tie into two Corps or Engineer levees to further protect infrastructure.
  • In Fort Pierre, the city's primary efforts are in monitoring and dealing with minor problems. Mayor Sam Tidball says it's comforting to know there's a Black Hawk helicopter in the area should it be needed. In the city, only one storm drain is not completely sealed on 5th Avenue. He says the outlet to the river is sealed but it's feeding back water from an unknown source. Crews are also using pumps to de-water areas where it's seeping in through the ground water.
Joe Lowe, the incident commander at the Southeast Region, took to the air Monday and said the river is angry and starting to flow real well. They are also starting to see large items such as refrigerators and empty propane tanks float down the river.
  • A levee is being built to the 1,104 feet that will connect the Wynstone community with McCook Lake and North Sioux City. Crews have filled 30,000 sandbags in those areas since Sunday.
  • Lowe says Tuesday is a pivotal day in Dakota Dunes because it's stating to charge against the outside of the levee. The river level there is at 1,095.3 feet; the levee is being built to 1,100 feet. More than 180 trucks are hauling 30,000 yards of material every day at the rate of one truck every 45 seconds. Crews are also laying riprap, or broken concrete, along the levee shoreline in areas to armor it against where the river will challenge it most at first.
  • To date, there are 630 homes evacuated in the area and more than 3,500 people displaced from the Dakota Dunes. The sanitary sewer flow at one lift station is lower than usual, which Jeff Dooley with the community says means the system has likely not been infiltrated. He says the water treatment plant has been shut down and the community is now getting water from Sioux City. Residents are reminded they can not return to their homes just yet because the levee system and de-watering system need to be put in place.
South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard and others involved in the flood fight gave the latest information during a briefing Tuesday morning.

To watch Kelly Bartnick's recap of Tuesday's briefing, click on the video player above.
  • Pierre, SD

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