Members of the Jefferson City Water Rescue team and the Missouri National Guard assisted with transporting sewer treatment facility workers to and from work throughout the recent flooding in Mid-Missouri.
At about 30.6 feet, water could flow over the levee protecting North Jefferson City, which occurred May 24. That weekend, the Jefferson City Fire Department and Missouri National Guard began helping the sewer treatment facility workers.
“As the water started to fill, it got deeper than they were comfortable crossing,” said Jerry Blomberg, Jefferson City Fire Division chief of training. “We had requested a high-wheel vehicle for over there when we were assisting Ameren … on crossing water, and it continued to be utilized because it transported a bunch of sewer treatment facility workers out there.”
The Jefferson City Fire Department borrowed a 2.5-ton light medium tactical vehicle from the Tuscumbia Fire Department, and the Missouri National Guard loaned a 5-ton, six-wheel vehicle that could cross the floodwaters. The group also had a water rescue boat with them.
They were doing one or two transports for about a week, Blomberg said, crossing Hibernia Road and Aviation Drive.
“Hibernia Road had flowing water running across it, which presents a problem and always makes us nervous,” he said. “We preach and we talk about ‘turn around, don’t drown.’ We don’t want people driving through standing water either. We actually will put people in front of roads to scan the roads so we’re not driving into an unknown.”
The water receded enough for pick-up trucks to drive to the sewer treatment facility, Blomberg added.
Along with helping the sewer treatment facility workers, the group helped Ameren shut off gas, the Jefferson City Public Works Department evaluate the Jefferson City Memorial Airport, and with a water rescue.
“We enjoyed having the guard here,” Blomberg said. “We helped the guard, and the guard helped us help the city. I think it worked very well.”
The Missouri National Guard was released Monday.
The sewer treatment facility itself stayed in good shape during the recent flooding, as it was raised to a higher level after the Flood of 1993, Jefferson City Operations Manager Britt Smith told the News Tribune on Wednesday.
News Tribune reporter Jeff Haldiman contributed information used in this article.