Reducing the Flood Threat to Schuylkill Haven

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More than a million dollars is being used to help prevent flood damage in Schuylkill Haven.

The Schuylkill River is  peaceful enough with ducks paddling along and people using the waterway for a leisurely trip, but add a lot of rain and the river turns violent.

In 2006 the Schuylkill River roared out of its banks and flooded about one-third of Schuylkill Haven.

Flood victim Jeremy Krammes remembers.  "We got evacuated. We didn't know what to think, really. It was really tough on us," Krammes said.

Firefighters from the community did the evacuations, even though one of their fire companies was taking on water.  Bob Peel was the chief of the Liberty Fire House.

"Yes we knew our fire company was going underwater, yes we did know we were going to receive a lot of damage," Peel said.

Now work is underway at giving flood waters more room to run into unpopulated areas of Schuylkill Haven.  Officials said that should reduce damage to populated areas.

Borough Manager Scott Graver said that means a lot of digging with heavy machinery. "We're going to get it down where it was 100 years ago. We're going to have a five acre area here that's going to be able to retain water in future high rain events," Graver said.

The planning for the flood protection project began after the water receded in the 2006 flood. State Representative Mike Tobash said a  state grant of just over a million dollars  is being used.

"I think it's important message to these communities that are subject to these flood activities just keep their shoulder to the wheel, that these projects don't happen overnight," Tobash said.

Flood victim Jeremy Krammes  hopes the project works at preventing a repeat of 2006 "Every time it rains both my wife and I get sick in our stomachs. It's not a good feeling,"  Krammes added.