Officials will use cooling water to prevent Kankakee ice jams

Trying to avoid a repeat of last year’s ice jams, Will County emergency officials will use water from the Dresden Generating Station to prevent problems on the Kankakee River.

Beginning Monday, the county will start the siphoning relatively warm cooling lake water into the Kankakee, said Harold Damron, director of the Will County Emergency Management Agency.

“Up through Wednesday of this week, the river was nearly clear of ice,” Damron said. “And, even with the cold weather now and through next week, I think the overall possibility of major ice jam problems is low.

“But, since we still have the option to use the siphon and we’re so far along in the season, we think it would be prudent to take advantage of it.”

Ice jams are on the Kankakee are a concern because they raise the river level, sometimes spilling into subdivisions along the Kankakee. The siphon will be activated for a two-week period, Damron said.  Together with more moderate temperatures as the end of winter approaches, he added, the ice conditions on the river are expected to gradually improve.

“This is a period of changing river conditions,” Damron said. “Even with the use of the siphon, an ice jam can develop quickly and cause isolated flash flooding with little or no warning.  Residents are urged to remain alert for flash flooding and to avoid venturing out onto the ice-covered river.”

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