- Associated Press - Friday, July 4, 2014

DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) - With the Mississippi River expected to crest at less than 21 feet in Davenport on Friday, floodwater likely won’t test the true capabilities of a permanent flood wall completed last year at the Iowa American Water treatment plant.

The wall has been a goal for 40 years and was finished in October, the Quad-City Times said (http://bit.ly/1mRcTUT ). It was built in partnership with the Army Corps of Engineers and the city of Davenport. Iowa American provides water for more than 130,000 residents in the Iowa Quad-Cities area.

The $11.8 million project includes the 2,000-foot-long wall around the plant and three gates that must be closed to floodwaters. The wall is designed to protect the plant to a river level of more than 31 feet.

“But if it gets to that stage, we’re all in trouble,” Iowa American external affairs manager Lisa Reisen said.

Rick Baker, Iowa American’s production supervisor, said employees tested the gates Wednesday to make sure they closed properly, recalling last year’s battle with high water while the wall was still under construction.

Even without the permanent structure, Reisen said, the company has always kept floodwaters at bay and had 50 years of flood preparation documentation to consult.

“Our guys have a lot of experience in flood fighting, they had it down to what to do at what level,” she said.

The highest recorded Mississippi River flood level in the Quad-Cities was 22.63 feet in July 1993.

Even in 1993 and the challenging 1965 flood, she said, “We never interrupted our customers’ water supply.”

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Information from: Quad-City Times, http://www.qctimes.com

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