Council Bluffs looks for relief from street flooding problem

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa. (WOWT)-- Flooded streets in Council Bluffs could be the new normal, the City’s mayor worries about fields that are still flooded and will eventually freeze, then thaw again in the spring.

All of that will add to the cities problem with flooded streets.

Timothy Porter has lived in West Council Bluffs for more than 50 years, he says his street has flooded three or four times.

“The streets do come up I’ve had it come up as high as my steps on the porch so it’s pretty much impossible to get down the street, so it’s four to six hours before it goes down,” said Porter.

Mary and Jolene Swotek live right next to the levee, they say the streets here always flood.

“There’s always water in the street which in turn brings mosquitos, which is not good either I mean there are swarms this year, they’re bad,” said Jolene.

Council Bluffs Mayor Matt Walsh says the same levee system that protects Council Bluffs residents from river floodwaters, does not allow rainwater to drain easily.

“It is a natural disaster, it’s not something we’ve experienced in the past, many people say it’s never flooded like this before, it’s because the levee is so high,” said Walsh.

Council Bluffs has hired an outside engineering firm to help with sewer issues.

“They have specific equipment that they can put down in the sewer system to monitor flows to see where the problems are occurring and see if there’s anything we can do to elevate that,” said Walsh.

Council Bluffs will have to keep pumping until they can figure out a solution to street flooding.

“Oh we’re used to it, it’s been going all summer so we’re used to it now, it’s like a little music I guess if they turn it off we worry,” said Mary.

Mayor Walsh says whatever Council Bluffs decides to do to fix its street flooding problems, won’t be a cheap fix. City officials are hoping to get help from FEMA.