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Soaking rains put storm water systems in Massillon to the test

Posted: 5:31 PM, Jun 21, 2019
Updated: 2019-06-21 23:23:35-04
Massillon levees.png

MASSILLON, Ohio — Levees are designed to divert rushing rainwater away from homes and businesses, and in Massillon, the levee system is facing its biggest challenge in decades.

More than five inches of rain in just three days.

"That's obviously a tremendous amount of rainfall over a very short period of time," said Kevin Butler, of the Army Corps of Engineers.

All that water was pumped away from the city of Massillon into the Tuscarawas River. The extreme weather event is one for the record books.

"The largest in the last forty years and the fourth largest on record here in Massillon," said Butler.

Three miles of levees, along with four pumping stations are in place to keep the community from going under water.

“These levees are responsible for forming the barrier to protect about 200 acres of residential and commercial areas within the city of Massillon," said Butler.

During the height of the rainfall this week, capacity along the river reached 40%.

"The levees here have performed well throughout this event," said Butler.

The Army Corps of Engineers, along with crews from the city are keeping watch despite a break in the weather.

"Patrolling the levees daily to look for any problems that might exist," said Butler.

When the river level drops, a crew from the Army Corps of Engineers will inspect the system to make sure it didn't suffer any damage during the rain event.

The force from the wall of moving water can cause erosion and seeping issues.

"Although we build them to extreme, robust engineering design levels, sometimes mother nature still has a way to cause damages during extreme events," said Butler.

Since being built in the 1950s, the levees have prevented millions of dollars in losses.

A trend that despite the latest round of wicked weather, continues.

"This is performing as designed, it's offering the barrier protection for the city of Massillon as it was intended to do," said Brandon Moore, of the Army Corps of Engineers.