Corps Of Engineers Work To Slow Down Water Flow Into Keystone Lake

Saturday, May 11th 2019, 7:11 pm
By: News On 6

The Keystone Dam is currently releasing 72,000 cubic feet per second of water into the Arkansas river, which is like 72,000 basketballs moving into the river.

This is to help balance out the 120,000 cubic feet per second of water flowing into Keystone Lake causing campgrounds to flood.

The Army Corps of Engineers is being proactive. They are using a sand bag machine from the Kansas City District Corps of Engineers which can put out 10 bags a minute.

Related Story: Corps Of Engineers Activates Emergency Operations Center Following Heavy Rains

Volunteers plan to fill at least 6,000 bags today just to be prepared.

Bag after bag and a lot of sand.

As fast as the machine can fill them.

The corps of engineers don't want to take any chances of not being prepared.

"If we work really hard here for the next couple days or even a couple weeks and keep water from coming in then we are done. Then we have to just clean up some sand bags," said Dan Curtin with the Army Corps of Engineers.

Curtin drove the sand bag machine all the way from Missouri to help Tulsa prepare.

Engineers say water levels continue to rise, and they expect the be releasing more than 80,000 cubic feet per second of water by Monday, the most in 26 years.

"We have high water levels in the lakes right now and we just want people to be aware, more public awareness and it's proactive to have the sand bags ready in case they are needed," said Levee Commissioner Todd Kilpatrick.

“To be able to come out here and best-case scenario put out a thousand sand bags an hour with the assets available, it's unheard of," said Curtin.

Engineers told News On 6 that Tulsa is still at a low risk for flooding.

They are using Saturday, with more than 20 volunteers, as a chance to practice using the machine just in case the Arkansas River floods.

“Once your levee is over top or gives way then you are dealing with damage control," said Curtin.  

Curtin says many hands make light work but having the machine beats using a shovel.

"We could work hard up front for a couple days or a couple weeks or we could spend years trying to fix the damage," said Curtin.

They plan to fill at least 60,000 bags in the next week. The bags will all be put in reserve just in case they are needed.