ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Albany city officials say all six flood control gates to the Flint River remain closed for now, as they keep close watch on the River level. Those gates keep the Flint River from rolling into the city's drainage system.
They were controversial in the 1994 flood, because it made it more difficult to pump rain water out of the city. But new equipment has helped.
The Joshua Street flood gate near the water treatment plant and the other six gates were shut when the Flint River reached 25 feet, to keep the water backing up into the drainage system.
Albany Assistant City Manager Phil Roberson said, "Probably half of the city drains into the Flint River either through these canals or goes through the waste water treatment plant. So the canals serve a huge purpose in moving water out of Albany when you have rainwater."
In 2002, FEMA funds paid to build these flood mitigation structures. Huge pumps that will send water from the city around those closed gates.
"And we can actually cut those pumps on and pump around the structures into the river when those canals fill up, and keep the neighborhoods dry," Roberson said.
City planners have more pumps running at the Holloway Basin, emptying holding ponds and canals. With more rain forecast this week, city officials feel more confident today. "So there is a lot of things now going for us that will cause us to better able to handle these waters if we get storm water coming in, rain water, while the river is up."
Planners have taken what they learned from the 1994 and 1998 floods, and improved those river gates technology to keep flooding out of homes.