Project aims to prevent flash flooding issues on Des Moines’ north side


DES MOINES, Iowa — The north side of Des Moines is still recovering from the historic rainstorm that swept through the city in 2018.

“I mean there was eight inches of rain in about three hours that northwest that hit the north side of Des Moines,” Clean Water Program Administrator for Des Moines, Patrick Beane, said. “Smaller events still cause problems and so we need to go through and upsize and repair the old storm sewer systems that just are under capacity or failing because of age and the condition.”

To prevent future flash flooding, the city of Des Moines has created the Stormwater Retention Project. Beane said the city is currently in phase two of the project. This phase includes constructing a massive hole into the earth near 41st St and College Avenue to create a basin capable of storing more water than five Olympic-sized swimming pools. 

Once it’s complete, it will provide an above-ground detention basin for stormwater.

The city has allocated $6 million to this project made possible by the Local Options Sales Tax and the Stormwater Utility fee charged to residents. 

One Beaverdale native, Gloria Hoffman, has been living in the area for over 70 years. She said her family experienced extreme flooding in 1998 and then again 20 years later in 2018. Hoffman said the 2018 flood destroyed her basement and caused up to $20,000 in damages. 

Hoffman now sits on the Stormwater Advisory board and said she’s happy something’s being done about this issue. 

“It’s so important that all of the projects all over town get taken care of,” Hoffman said. “That will take a number of years because there are only certain contractors that can even do this. And then there’s money, and we’re going to have to allocate dollars to get these things done.” 

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