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Published August 02, 2011, 09:14 PM

West-end Devils Lake Outlet Shut Down

The west-end Devils Lake pumps were shut down completely on Tuesday. The decision was made to help alleviate downstream flooding after heavy rains caused the Army Corps of Engineers to increase flows out of Lake Ashtabula into the Sheyenne River.

The west-end Devils Lake pumps were shut down completely on Tuesday. The decision was made to help alleviate downstream flooding after heavy rains caused the Army Corps of Engineers to increase flows out of Lake Ashtabula into the Sheyenne River.

One of the pumps broke down two weeks ago, so the outlet was running at half capacity. The west-end outlet has had its share of mechanical failures this year, but Devils Lake mayor Dick Johnson said that can easily be avoided.

"Gravity sure works better, cheaper. And we don't have these breakdowns," Johnson said.

The pumps also got a late start.

"Didn't start going at 250 (cubic feet per second) until about June 10th, so we are frustrated with that," Johnson said.

With the late start and mechanical problems, city officials say water needs to come of the lake soon.

"Get water off the lake as quickly and as fast as we can when the river can carry it and get it out of here," Johnson said.

City officials also say that if Valley City needs protection to handle the water, they should get it.

"If some permanent diking, if permanent flood protection is needed downstream, then it should be funded," Johnson said.

For mayor Johnson, the solution to the problem is easy.

"Gravity is the answer," Johnson said.

But for now they will have to settle with the pumps, and that means holding water until the Sheyenne river can handle the added inflows.

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