One of the most-used tools to combat flood water are sandbags. But in west central Illinois a relatively new technology is being utilized to stave off flood waters. And as IPR’s Bill Wheelhouse reports that technology has been used in military combat as well.
Troops in Iraq and Afghanistan sleep behind bulletproof barriers used as shields against attacks. Those same barriers are now being used as shields against the river.
They're made from wire mesh baskets covered with a heavy-duty fabric lining then filled with sand. A small tractor fills the baskets during flood protection work in Morgan county. JD Gebhart, a volunteer from Pawnee, steers the sand into the containers.
"Instead of sand bags it's a lot quicker..a lot easier to fill..less labor intensive: a couple miles south of Meredosia these baskets are going to be the second line of defense should water go through a levee as expected. Dennis Barkmeyer of New Orleans is with the company that makes the barriers. He watches as about four-thousand feet are put in place: what we are doing here would have taken a few weeks to sandbag what we can do in a day," Gebhart says.
Another flood fighting device in use this spring is called the Aqua Levee it's a giant bladder full of water which can be set up as an extra flood wall.