MADISON COUNTY, IL (KMOX)-Flooding issues in a section of the metro east are more persistent and widespread than previously thought.

That’s the finding of a new survey of residents in the American Bottom watershed, conducted by the Heartlands Conservancy.

According to Project Manager Janet Buchanan, 45 percent of those responding to the survey say they’ve experienced flooding in the past decade. Buchanan says they knew flooding was an issue in that part of Madison County, basically from Hartford south, but the survey did uncover some things they didn’t know. “There’s flooding happening in upland areas where it’s not necessarily in the FEMA floodplain,” Buchanan says. “It’s told us that there’s really high ground waters in this area, so it’s not just when it rains but it’s a long time after it rains.”

She says the flooding is quite expensive, costing residents an average of over $11,000. “People are installing things like French drains and sump pumps in their basements, but sometimes there’s nowhere for the water to go on the back end. It’s a lot of work. It’s a lot of money and for an individual homeowner it’s a lot of effort to move that water away.”

The Conservancy will discuss the findings in an open house at the Pontoon Beach Village Hall from 6-8 pm Wednesday. Buchanan says the information will be used to develop a watershed plan to reduce flooding and improve water quality. She says that plan will probably take about two years to complete.

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