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Published May 01, 2009, 12:00 AM

AquaDam kept homes dry in flood

Two neighbors from the Forest River development south of Fargo had a secret weapon to fight back recent floodwaters: more water.

By: Amy Dalrymple, Forum News Service, INFORUM

Two neighbors from the Forest River development south of Fargo had a secret weapon to fight back recent floodwaters: more water.

The homeowners used a device called an AquaDam, a water-inflated flood control barrier that kept their homes safe while many other houses in the area had significant water damage.

Jason Tesch discovered the product while researching products online.

“I could reuse it, and also the setup is extremely fast,” Tesch said.

When workers from the California company Water Structures Unlimited were installing it, neighbor Richard Thomas decided to buy one for his home as well.

The AquaDam is made of a heavy, woven plastic with two plastic tubes inside, Thomas said.

When inflated with water, it’s twice as wide as it is tall, he said.

Prices vary depending on size. Thomas said he paid $2,750 for the one that protected his house.

“When I think of the amount of damage had we gotten wet, it’s a very small price to pay,” Thomas said.

The AquaDam was much less labor-intensive than sandbags. It took about four hours for two workers from the company to help Thomas set his up.

There’s also less potential for leaking with the device. Thomas used two small pumps to take care of some minor seepage, but often the pumps were sucking air.

Tesch said he had water in his basement because the AquaDam wasn’t the right size for the height of the floodwaters. But without the device, he would have had water on his main floor.

Thomas, who didn’t follow an evacuation advisory so he could monitor his pumps, did not have water damage to his home.

All but about six of the 35 to 40 homes in Forest River had water damage, Thomas said.

“This thing held back the water, and we stayed dry,” Thomas said.

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Readers can reach Forum reporter Amy Dalrymple at (701) 241-5590

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