WDAY: The News Leader

Published February 10, 2010, 09:44 AM

New ideas for flood protection are flowing into city offices daily

(WDAY TV) - It's not just people in our region pushing for flood protection. People from all over the world are offering their products and ideas to help in a potential 2010 flood fight. The options run the gamut from permanently freezing the river to million dollar machines.

With products like Tiger Tubes and spider machines, today's potential flood fighting equipment sounds more like an amusement park than a protective force. New ideas are flowing into city offices daily.

“They're coming out of the wood work.”

Last year it resulted in Fargo purchasing two 33-thousand dollar spider machines which take 150 people to run, but put out a critical 6,000 sandbags per day. Just this morning, a Swiss company presented a sandbag machine with 3 scoops. Zavoral says the city is evaluating this and other products like different flood walls, asking will it work on frozen ground? Have other flood regions tried it? He says it's taking up a lot of staff time.

“There may be one out there that will work, so we have to take seriously.”

Chairman of Oakport Township agrees and is storing away information on various sales calls.

In 2009 Oakport tried all kinds of creative ideas, like barriers made of straw bails, shingles and hockey boards.

“Army Corps of Engineers said they never seen that before.”

He says clay and sand always works best, but he doesn't rule out other options.

“When you need help, you listen to anyone to help make the best choice.”

To take advantage of some of these new products, Zavoral says we're talking about hundreds of thousands of dollars minimum. He's hesitant to spend until we have a better idea what kind of flood we'll have, especially since the city will only be reimbursed if there is a state or federal flood declaration.

“There is a fine line between being overly prepared and under-prepared.”

So for now they're listening to even some extreme ideas.

“Giant Freon tubes to keep water frozen until July.”

So when the need comes, leaders know how best to fill it.