MORRISVILLE, PA - Protecting the safety and property of its residents is the first priority of any emergency manager. Bob Seward, Morrisville Borough EMC, knows this as well as anyone. He has been battling floods in the community for years. In April 2005, more than 25 homes and a large city park were flooded when a spillway channeling the Delaware Canal into the Delaware River overtopped.
Learning from this experience, in coordination with Borough Manager George Mount, Morrisville decided to try a new approach to prevent flooding.
Morrisville is protected from the Delaware River by a series of levees. However during heavy rain, the river rises, and prevents a floodgate from channeling water from the canal into the river. While this poses a challenge, it also guarantees that any flooding will start in the same location.
With this knowledge, Mount and Seward assembled the borough’s emergency management committee and developed a plan to set up a series of water pumps in an effort to control the flooding.
Using both borough pumps and several pumps rented from a nearby shop, they pumped water over the levees and into the river. Running the pumps continuously from July 29 to August 1, Mount and Seward were able to contain flooding to the street. Keeping the water level low, they were able to protect all the community’s homes as well as the nearby park.
They monitored the water level, and at one point rented additional pumps to ensure water levels would not rise. All told, eight industrial water pumps were used to protect the city.
“By pumping water over the levees, we were able to keep up with the flood water. Except for a few parked cars, this prevented serious flood losses,” Mount said.
Seward agreed, “The homeowners were thrilled with how well this worked. The pumps did a terrific job."