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    The Typar® geocells were recently tested by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Research and Development Center at their Coastal and Hydraulic Lab in Vicksburg, Miss. This test, which evaluates a system’s ability to withstand a variety of flood-related conditions, showed that the cells outperformed traditional sandbags in all tests, including time to install, seepage, time to remove, and overall endurance.

    As proven as the geocells are, they don’t set themselves up. At Smithland, it took a community effort to get wall built. The district flood fight team, representatives from Typar®, local businesses and citizens all chipped in to set up the 5,000 foot wall before the looming 75-hour deadline.

    “Wives and kids began to arrive,” Shifflett recalled. “They were bringing drinks for workers. Everybody was doing their part. It was really a sight to witness to see the community come together, to see how much they accomplished in such a short amount of time. They definitely had a lot of pride in their hometown.”

    But the geocell wall hasn’t been the only tool buying more time from Mother Nature. The district’s emergency management team mobilized the delivery of several pumps to Smithland. The pumps move water from ponded interiors areas over the wall and into the Ohio River. While pumps are very effective, Corps lakes play a huge flood reduction role with the Ohio River basin. 

    The basin covers more than 189,422 square miles, draining streams, rivers, tributaries and snowmelt within 14 states. During periods of heavy rain, surface water runoff is stored in the lakes until swollen streams and rivers below the dams have receded and can handle the release of the stored water. For decades, Corps lakes have saved lives and billions of dollars in property damage.