New Albany pump stations prepared for Ohio River to crest after nearly constant rain

NEW ALBANY, Ind. (WDRB) -- Pump stations in southern Indiana are working overtime to deal with all the flooding the area has seen recently.

As the Ohio River continues to rise, two of three pump stations in New Albany are already working with the third one expected to be turned on sometime Wednesday night.

“We base our operations off of projections for future planning, and we take it as it comes one foot at the river,” said Christopher Gardner with New Albany’s Flood Control District.

Inside each station are several pumps, each of churning out 52,200 gallons of water each minute. All are automated to turn on when water gets to a determined flood level but can put flipped on manually if need. When the levy is put in operation, water draining from the town can’t get back to the river. The water is then diverted to the pumping plants where the water is manually pumped over the flood wall.

Staff monitors the gauges and facility 24 hours a day.

Just up the river at McAlpine Locks and Dam, the Army Corps of Engineers said they are running operations like normal, and the flooding hasn’t affected their daily monitoring.

In Louisville, MSD has 12 of its 16 stations pumping, and for them, it is all hands on deck.

“We have people from fleet, we have people from accounting, finance, customer service, engineering that come out and staff the flood pump stations,” said Josh Dickerson, MSD’s Flood Protection Administrator.

So far, most of the rain has been steady, which is easier to deal with than sudden downpours. The crews know there is only so much they can do until the river crests.

“Half the battle of fighting a flood is keeping the river out of the city" Garner said. "The second half is making sure the water that needs to get to the river gets out."

On Wednesday afternoon the town of Clarksville reported several of its streets have closed:

  • Emery Crossing between Harrison Avenue and McCullough Pike
  • Gutford Road between Creekside Drive and Pensive Road
  • Blackiston Mill Road between Walnut Grove Road and to the north of the Silver  Creek Bridge

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