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Published April 23, 2011, 05:13 PM

Pembina Monitoring Levees 24 Hours A Day As Waters Rise

With each step, a flooded community feels safer. Volunteers are monitoring dikes in Pembina around the clock after a levee leaked.

With each step, a flooded community feels safer.

Volunteers are monitoring dikes in Pembina around the clock after a levee leaked.

Some walking miles each day.

It can be a long walk, but somebody has to do it.

Barb O'Hara and her daughter put on their walking shoes not only for their health but to keep the town of Pembina dry.

"Any holes or leaks, even gopher holes, there's flags that we'll mark then and a group comes behind us and will sandbag them or take care of any hazards we find." O'Hara said.

Almost 80 people volunteer everyday to walk the 3 miles around this levee to make sure there's nothing out of the ordinary.

"We split up so there's 4 people walking everytime so we will walk a mile and a half on our walk." O'Hara said.

Thanks to the volunteer flood walkers, a leak was found in a section of floodwall just in time for crews to put a ring dike around it.

"By the time it was done between the guard and volunteers we had 52 people show up within an hour." Ken Norby from Pembina Public Works said.

The Pembina River isn't expected to crest for several more days.

Which only raises flood fears here.

The likely crest of 53 feet could cause more issues on the South side of town.

"We'll have volunteers walking dikes until it get's back down to that 50 foot level." Norby said.

Walking around dikes and earthen levees, 24-hours a day is hard work, but until rising waters fall, volunteers like O'Hara will stick it out and maybe take a minute to enjoy nature.

" No hazards, yesterday we had a little fun, we saw 3 little beavers swimming around so, we had to stop and watch them play their games. That was fun." O'Hara said.

The North Dakota National Guard is helping patrol during the night to give volunteers a break.

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