The people who live and work in the Midwest don't cry wolf when it comes to water emergencies. Over generations and centuries, families and companies along the Mississippi, Ohio and countless tributary rivers have encountered many major flooding events, so it takes a lot to catch them off guard and cause them to call for help.
In late 2015 and early 2016, a tremendous amount of rain fell and caused historic winter floods to hit towns and cities in four states. Even after the rains stopped, the rivers kept rising. That is when many towns turned to Xylem for help.
While local geologists and hydrologists were working to determine exactly how this disaster happened, our team at Xylem was working to return floodwater to the river and restore needed services for people in the emergency zone. "We have a lot of experience with flooding like this" said Ken Albaugh, Xylem's Central Region Manager. "We knew what needed to be done, and our teams worked 24/7, even through the Christmas and New Year's holidays, until the floodwaters were brought under control."
Here are just some of the ways we were able to help:
We went onsite at local power plants, conducting job-walks to assess the flooding situation and develop contingency plans to get the plants back online. Using our extensive rental fleet of Godwin diesel pumps and Flygt submersible pumps, we removed the water from the plants so that operations could resume safely. This allowed people in these regions to have the power they needed for lights, refrigeration, and to start returning to their regular life.
For several cities in Illinois and Mississippi, we worked with emergency crews to develop levee protection systems and/or set up pump-out operations for areas that had already experienced "over-topping" of the levees. Again, we brought our expertise, along with our Godwin and Flygt rental pumps, to ensure the drainage pumps removed the water as quickly as possible.
As the flood waters began to recede, we installed sewage and clean water bypass pumps to restore the power, water and transportation services that had been shut down by the flood waters.
In many ways, the Midwest flooding disaster showed again that when things are at their worst, Xylem is always close by to help. We bring value to our customers in four key ways: with unmatched expertise in pumps and pumping technology; by having the right rental pumps and accessories for the job; by acting as technical and business partners; and by having a support network of people, and a fleet of pumps that are close by and available 24/7. We will be there when we're needed most.
Many people in the Midwest are still recovering from the aftereffects of the killer storms and massive flooding that made the new year a nightmare. At Xylem, our thoughts are with them. And we hope through our efforts, we were able to lessen their hardships and speed their return to regular life where the rivers are back to being natural wonders instead of natural disasters.