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Kankakee River no longer at risk

Published: Friday, March 21, 2014 10:22 p.m. CDT

Warmer temperatures and a special warm water siphon system have eliminated the chance of ice causing flooding along the Kankakee River, Will County officials said Friday. 

Harsh winter conditions caused ice as thick as 30 inches to form on the river, according to a news release from the county. Runoff from melting snow caused some of the ice to break up, threatening homes near Cottage and Willow roads in Wilmington and the bridge at Warner Bridge Road in late February. The bridge was closed to traffic for nearly three weeks.

“These are conditions not seen in at least 30 years,” Harold Damron, Will County’s emergency management director, said in the release. “Several homes were flooded and damaged by these huge pieces of floating ice.”

Another factor that helped alleviate the ice jams was a special siphon system operated by the county in cooperation with Exelon’s Dresden Generating Station. The siphon draws warm water from Dresden plant’s cooling lake into the river.

“The siphon helped to clear ice at a critical point on the river where ice jams formed,” said Damron.

Will County Executive Larry Walsh made a direct request to obtain approval from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency to use the siphon for an extended period.

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