East St. Louis addresses successes, challenges in first press conference following historic flooding

Published: Aug. 2, 2022 at 6:20 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - The City of East St. Louis outlined the recovery process in its first press conference following historic flooding.

Historic flooding swamped the St. Louis metro on July 26. Exactly a week later, East St. Louis mayor Robert Eastern III publicly shared what caused the neighborhood at Mary Street and Terrace Drive to flood badly. He said Harding Ditch near the neighborhood consistently overflows.

“The best way to eradicate any potential flooding would be to dredge the ditch, which would make it deeper or to widen the bottom of it,” Eastern III said Tuesday. “The feasibility of that getting done financially is just not there. As you increase the housing market, and increase those things above the bluff--well, it intends to run down here. Even if the pump station wasn’t full and we had 10 pump stations out there--you’re already pumping water into an already full ditch.”

Residents told News 4 the flood waters were drained four days later. Many spent the days following the flood emptying their houses, because renovation needs to be done.

Eastern III said a study needs to be done to see how they solve the issue at a reasonable price. He said the project would cost tens of millions of dollars.

He urged residents to keep calling 211 and 618-482-6620 to increase the federal and state funding the city could potentially get.

“The more people that call triggers certain things that can happen state and federally,” he added. “So, very important again--no matter how minor and definitely the major to call 211. I do understand that there is a wait. I can understand it can be a little frustrating, but it’s very detrimental to making sure we’ll be able to get those funds.”

There’s no timetable on when emergency funds can come in.

Residents who are in need of assistance should contact the United Way of Greater St. Louis at 2-1-1, Urban League at (618) 274-1150, and Community Lifeline at (618) 482-2950 to register to receive social services.