Neighbors fed up with creek flooding - – Rockford’s News Leader

Neighbors fed up with creek flooding

Wilbern Grayum Wilbern Grayum
Gene Koelker Gene Koelker
Pat O'Donnell Pat O'Donnell

By Bob Schaper

ROCKFORD (WREX) - If high water helped derail a Canadian National train Friday it may have come from a nearby creek that floods on a regular basis.

There's been at least three floods along Brookdale Road in recent years, including this weekend's.

"I had water in the basement," said Wilbern Grayum. "The lady next door had water in her basement."

"We've never had flooding like we've had in the last few years," said Gene Koelker, who lives a few doors down.

But this weekend's flood had a twist: the water may have been mixed with ethanol... Washed downstream after Friday's train derailment.

"Our wells are contaminated," said Grayum.

Federal investigators say the train's crew spotted high water on the tracks just moments before the crash. Cherry Valley Highway Commissioner Pat O'Donnell says water was likely from the creek.

The creek runs under Linden Road through a drain pipe that Grayum thinks is too narrow.

"We had requested that they put a larger culvert in because it wasn't handling the water," Grayum said. "They told us they were engineers and that it would handle it.... Well apparently it didn't."

"We had an engineer and he checked it," O'Donnell said. "But when you get a storm like we had nothing's adequate."

Another issue could be too much new construction upstream.

"There's too many more areas now that are being fed into this small creek which was never designed to handle all that," Koelker said.

O'Donnell says he's aware of the flooding along Brookdale, but at this point there's no plans to improve the drainage.

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