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Missouri River changes create sinkholes in Iowa community

September 21, 2018
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In this Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018 photo, Avenue L near 26th Street is afflicted by sinkholes caused by rising and falling water levels of the Missouri River, as well as rainfall in Council Bluffs, Iowa. The Missouri River's fluctuating water levels are keeping crews busy fixing broken sewer lines and filling sinkholes around Council Bluffs. The Army Corps of Engineers believes the river will fluctuate between 23 feet (7 meters) and 28 feet (8.5 meters) deep over the next week. (Joe Shearer/The Daily Nonpareil via AP)

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) — The Missouri River’s fluctuating water levels are keeping crews busy fixing broken sewer lines and filling sinkholes around Council Bluffs.

The Army Corps of Engineers believes the river will fluctuate between 23 feet (7 meters) and 28 feet (8.5 meters) deep over the next week, The Daily Nonpareil reported .

The water rises as upstream dams release water in order to reduce flood risk along the lower Missouri River, the agency said.

The river’s ebb and flow has created several sink holes in the city, said Dan Christensen, the sewer department supervisor for Council Bluffs Public Works. The issue has been complicated by heavy rain and drainage issues.

“It’s a disaster,” Christensen said. “We’re swamped.”

Resident Connie Meyers lives next to one of the sinkholes. The area in front of her home has been torn apart as crews use heavy machinery to repair the damage. Meyers said the city responded quickly when the sinkhole first appeared and was able to get her access to water within a day. But she said she’s ready for the work to be done.

City workers and contractors are working as fast as possible to repair the holes, but more sinkhole issues could arise, Christensen said.

“This was all swampland before we were here,” he said. “When the river rises, it takes chunks back.”

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Information from: The Daily Nonpareil, http://www.nonpareilonline.com

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